Another year, another canceled race. Is it frustrating? Absolutely. Is there a chance your favorite race won’t ever come back? Absolutely. Is there something you can do about it to make sure that it WILL come back? Absolutely!

As we continue to slowly venture into opening things back up from the Pandemic shutdown, more races have had to make the difficult decision to make their race virtual. This isn’t a decision that your RD (Race Director) takes lightly. Numerous phone calls, emails, texts, and Zoom meetings have taken place to bring them to this decision. If this this has been tough on you, put yourself in the shoes of your RD.

Hours have been spent planning for your big race day. T-shirts and medals have been ordered. Contracts, sometimes filled with “Non-refundable Clauses” have been signed. And, the feeling of knowing that your expectations might not be met weighs heavily on your RD’s heart. Despite all of that, there’s something that potentially could break your RDs heart even more; your race might not come back next year. Now, before you freak out, there’s something you can do about it.

If your race offers a virtual option, SIGN UP! This will help offset some of the costs I spoke about earlier. And, it will help keep your race from going under. Yes, those are some of the tough discussions that some races are facing. If you’re thinking, “C’mon, Tommy, a virtual race can’t cost THAT much”. You probably don’t realize all of the costs that go into making your race day happen. I know of a race that ended up spending well over $7,000 on shipping for medals and t-shirts. (That certainly wasn’t in the original budget). So, if they had 200 people run the race virtually, at $35 per person, they broke even on JUST the shipping.

Running virtually DOES have its benefits. You choose the day to run. (I suggest picking your most favorable forecast). You get to choose your course. You aren’t fighting traffic. You don’t need to find a parking spot, or arrange travel. AND, you still get the amazing swag!

I spoke with Holly Visser, RD for Gazelle Girl, to get her thoughts about the Gazelle Girl Half Marathon, 10k, 5k Virtual race.

Events falling in the land of in between…you know the ones falling in the space of stringent gathering protocols and moderate vaccine percentages…need our support to ensure a return next year at this time.

We, at Gazelle Girl, are working hard to create a race feel experience as best we can. With fun swag additions like cowbells and confetti poppers, and small hometown gatherings. Motigo messaging that mimics the on course cheer squads and voices we’ve come to love and expect.

We’ve reduced the race fee to keep it reasonable for anyone to access. Walk or jog- just join us!”

Holly Visser, Gazelle Girl RD

My wife, Patty, is again signed up for the Gazelle Girl virtual race. You can still sign up, too. (just click that link) Oh, and another “virtual benefit”? You can run this in your own hometown, and still get the swag! (and it is legit swag!!)

Last year, I challenged you to flood the Facebook page, and email in-box, of your RD’s with LOVE! Show them you respect them, and their tough decisions. Being a RD is not glamorous. And, I know, each of them didn’t foresee continued pandemic guidelines. Join me in spreading a message of love and support to each of them.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Race virtually. Love continuously. Always Run By Faith.

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