Tuesday 7 July 2015

Event 23 Sweatshop Running Community Virtual 5k - Are virtual events worth it?

As the title suggests only two days after Event 22 at Boconnoc, Cornwall I nailed my second event of the week and the 1st one of July.

Event 23 - Sweatshop Running Community (SRC) Virtual 5K Plymouth.

I've been a member of the SRC now for about 19 months, I joined them before I joined the Plymouth Musketeers Running Club a few months later. The SRC is a free running community run by Sweatshops across the UK. Much like parkrun where you just register and turn up, the difference is, the staff at the shops lead the running sessions. You aren't affiliated like you can be through a running club but their other incentives such as every time you turn up you stamp your card once a week and every so often you receive a reward. Week 1 is a nutrition pack, week 5 is a SRC top, etc until week 50 which is a pair of shoes up to £100.

I run once a week with them on a Monday as my club main night is Thursday. It gives me an opportunity to run with other people more often than just the Muskies club runs. They have various routes laid out from 3K to 7K's on the Monday night and 10K's and Endurance training on Thursday's. Occasionally there are beginner classes as well. So it is aimed at a mix of abilities.

There are a few Muskies who also run with SRC as well so it's quite nice. We meet at the shop, have a good catch up and run.

Bib Number
 Plymouth SRC advertised a virtual 5K event via their Facebook page which was through virtualrunning.com. As I had a bad run at event 22 I want to get over it sooner rather than later so I entered. The even cost around £10 or so to enter and like pretty much all other virtual events especially the others I have done there is a charity associated and money from the entrance fee goes towards that charity.

What is a virtual event? Basically it's an event created over the internet usually for a charity, where people can enter and these vary in distances. It allows people to run that event when they can. So for instance this one runs throughout July. So you can use a training run, or another event like parkrun if it fits in your distance for the event as an example to run it. Once you've run the event you upload your proof be it from a running app or watch and they send you the award which is usually a medal of some sort. Sometimes also a goody bag.

As Plymouth SRC had a set 5K route for this week, I decided to do mine then. I printed off my bib number pinned it to my top, although most don't give a bib number. With company from one of the other SRC members who is also a staff member. Off I went out in to the very warm streets of Plymouth. Luckily Jessica kept me company as she was taking it easy due to a recent injury and she had Lakelands coming up. Jessica was another Hope24 soloists this year and managed to smash out a lot of miles that weekend.

The Route

I completed my 5K event forwarded my proof to Virtualrunner.com where the results will be processed for the event and my bling sent out to me.

I like the idea of virtual events because of the simplicity of them. They are also a great idea for fundraising too! You don't have to sort out routes, organise marshals etc. All you have to do set up the event, sort out the payment for it, order rewards like medals then send them out once the runner has completed them. The runner can use other events to do it like a parkrun and jobs a good un. The runner can fit it round work, family and other commitments. Quite a few times I've been unable to run an event due to other commitments and virtual events like this allows people like myself to still earn some bling, whilst giving money to charities.

Unique Bling
I have two other virtual events lined up, one on the 11th and one which is 10 months long again all these will help me hit my total events goal. So if you are busy person who can't always make races, or someone who lacks a little confidence to go to a race but still want to earn some medals why not look at these virtual events.

So 23 of 37 events completed with 14 to go at least!

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