First Quarter 2021 Virtual Race Round-Up

An unresolved, untreated nagging injury has kept me from making running goals. I finally got a referral from my primary doctor in mid-September (ugh, time flies!) but I've still got to make my appointment. I'm hopeful to have the motivation once I get my COVID-19 vaccine. Until then, I still have some virtual races lined up.

These virtual runs (walks) are mostly completed in my neighborhood or local trail so they unfortunately aren't particularly memorable; individual reports would be even more boring than the usual race report. I still want to note them, especially to shout out the charities involved, so here are some brief recaps from virtual events I completed in January, February, and March 2021.

1 Shark Bite 5K

This fun race series, when an in-person event, consists of a 5K on Saturday evening and the main half marathon/5K event the next day, Sunday. It was scheduled to take place in mid-January before being converted to a virtual event. Although I had signed up for the Feeding Frenzy 5K plus Shark Bite Half Marathon challenge event but converted to the virtual 5K option. 

  • Completed: January 25, 2021 in my neighborhood
  • Charity: Girls on the Run Volusia
  • Cost: $45.40
  • Swag: Medal, Neck Buff
  • Time: 46:38

2 MeStrong 5K

This extremely popular local charity race had to go virtual for its 10th year. Arthur and I walked this together in 2019.

  • Completed: February 7, 2021 in my neighborhood
  • Charity: MeStrong
  • Cost: $72.75 for two packets plus extra souvenir visor
  • Swag: T-Shirt, Tyvek Bib, swag-packed race packet
  • Time: 49:22

3 Lady Track Shack 5K

This race took place as an in-person event on January 30, 2021. I requested to convert my race to virtual and Track Shack kindly obliged. Unfortunately, I didn't complete this race within the date period so I didn't get to submit my results. Track Shack has had several successful in-person events during the pandemic and I am sure they are taking great safety precautions. I think I'll be ready for an in-person event after I get my COVID-19 vaccine.

4 Hang In There 5K

  • Completed: March 14, 2021 on local trails
  • Cost: $45.38
  • Swag: Medal, T-Shirt, Bib
  • Time: 40:57

Keep Calm and Run Slow Tank Top

List: Virtual Christmas Races with Swag to Run in December 2020

Due to pandemic-related race cancellations and postponements, 2020 has seen a rise in popularity of virtual races. 

Are you looking for your next virtual race?

Local race companies are starting to run live events in many locations, with added safety precautions due to the pandemic. Check out your own local races to see if there is something available that you feel comfortable running. Often these races also offer a virtual option, with local pickup. Running a race put on by a local company keeps your money in the community and helps support local charities.

If you can't find local options, or you're just looking for more choices, I found the following holiday themed virtual races with various levels of swag that will ship directly to your home. Several of these runs have budget-friendly prices, especially considering shipping and handling costs. Some races might have additional fees, like a sign-up platform fee or shipping. I tried to note these but I may have missed some. The races also vary in their results submission requirements and when you need to complete your run.

I'm not personally affiliated with any of these races. I cannot vouch for their quality. Some races may have referral links. Please check all available information before registering in case of errors in the list below. Also note that some of these races support charitable causes and will give you the option to add a donation at the time of registration.

1 Greg Warmoth Reindeer Run Presented by AdventHealth for Children

  • Cost: $35 + $3 Processing Fee + $3 Shipping | Local pickup available in Orlando, Florida
  • Charity: Cultural Arts Organizations in Casselberry, Florida
  • Swag: Long Sleeve T-Shirt, Jingle Bell Ornament/Medal
  • Registration Ends: December 11, 2020
  • Complete the Race: Race day is December 12, 2020

Why you should run this: Track Shack is a central Florida running institution, hit hard by the pandemic like so many small businesses. If you're in central Florida like me, support local with this holiday run! This race will also take place in person in Casselberry, Florida.

2 14th Annual Candy Cane 5K

  • Cost: $30 plus $2.50 SignUp Fee plus $3 Shipping | Local pickup available in Winter Springs, FL
  • Charity: Boys Town Central Florida
  • Swag: T-Shirt, Medal
  • Registration Price increase: After December 1, 2020
  • Complete the Race: Race Day is December 12, 2020

Why you should run this: Here's another local race was forced to go virtual this year. I ran this charity race a few years ago: 2016 Candy Cane 5K Race Report. Run for a good cause and get your holiday swag.

3 The 12 Ks Of Christmas Virtual 12K & Challenge

  • Cost: $34 plus $2.97 SignUp Fee plus $5 Shipping | Local pickup will be available in Atlanta, GA
  • Swag: T-Shirt, Medal
  • Registration Price Increase: After December 1, 2020
  • Complete the Race: Run between December 14 and December 25, 2020

Why you should run this: Pick your challenge! Run one 12K or get at least 1K per day for 12 days.

4 Ugly Sweater Christmas Virtual Run

  • Cost: $32 plus $2.86 SignUp Fee | Shipping Included
  • Charity: An orphanage in Lashio, Myanmar
  • Swag: T-Shirt, Medal; other swag like face mask or hat available for an additional cost
  • Registration Ends: December 24, 2020
  • Complete the Race: Run on Christmas Day, December 25, 2020

Why you should run this: Extra fun holiday swag! Run for a good cause and get your holiday goodies.

5 Smashed Santa

  • Cost: $29 plus $2.68 SignUp Fee | Shipping Included
  • Charity: Nikolas Ritschel Foundation
  • Swag: Long Sleeve T-Shirt, Medal, Socks, Beanie
  • Registration Price Increases: December 4, 2020
  • Complete the Race: Run Any Time!

Why you should run this: A budget winner with excellent swag! Pick your distance: 5K; 7K; or 25 Mile Challenge and earn your fun ugly sweater shirt, medal, socks, and beanie!

6 Running on Wine Virtual Christmas Races

  • Cost: $35 plus $3.49 SignUp Fee | Shipping Included
  • Swag: Long Sleeve T-Shirt, Wine Tumbler, Finisher Medal
  • Registration Ends: December 24, 2020
  • Complete the Race: Run Any Time!

Why you should run this: Pick your distance: 5K; 10K; or 100 Mile Challenge. Purchase extra fun Christmas swag like a quarter zip pullover or socks for an additional fee.

7 Jingle All the 5K/10K/1K

  • Cost: $38.75 plus $3.75 SignUp Fee | Shipping Included
  • Charity: Make-a-Wish Foundation
  • Swag: T-Shirt, Medal, Printed Bib; long sleeve shirt available at additional cost
  • Registration Ends: December 31, 2020
  • Complete the Race: Run Any Time!

Why you should run this: This look like a fun run with a Yeti theme from Medal Dash. Pick your distance and earn your swag! You can also opt for a medal and bib only package for a discounted price, and additional swag like a running cap and face mask can be purchased as add-ons.

November 2020 Virtual Race Round-Up: Turkey Trot

An unresolved nagging injury has kept me from making running goals. I finally got a referral from my primary doctor in mid-September but I've still got to make my appointment. I've put it off long enough that we're now in the middle of another huge spike in COVID cases, so I'm waiting a bit longer. I still have some virtual races lined up, because I'm addicted to registering for these things, I guess.

These virtual runs (walks) are mostly completed in my neighborhood so they unfortunately aren't particularly memorable, and the individual reports are pretty boring. I still want to note them, and especially shout out the charities involved, so here's a very brief recap of the one virtual race I completed in November 2020.

1 Your Own Turkey Trot 2020

  • Completed: November 26, 2020 in my neighborhood
  • Charity: Wander Project
  • Cost: $50
  • Swag: Medal, tech shirt, printed bib, turkey gaiter
  • Time: 49:38

2020 Runner Gift Guide: Customizable Gift Ideas for Runners

Running saw a surge in popularity in 2020. Quarantine and social distancing, working from home, and the closure of gyms all drove people to look for different ways to stay in shape by keeping close to home and safely away from large gatherings or indoor spaces. 

I've compiled this gift list with our unique circumstances of a global pandemic in mind. Customized gifts are great for both new runners and experienced marathoners. The accessories, home decor pieces, and other gift ideas on this list are all available from small business owners via Etsy.

Tip: If you're shopping Etsy for the holidays, be sure to place your order in a timely manner. Many sellers on Etsy are small artisan home-based businesses that don't really ramp up production with extra employees during the holiday rush.

1 Custom Runner Caricature Digital Image

Found on Etsy

This is super cute for runners of all levels. Get a caricature of your runner in action. Work with the artist to get the background, clothing, accessories, and other details included in your drawing. You'll get a digital image that you're free to print. This artist also offers runner caricatures in the style of the Simpsons and you can pick other hobbies or professions if you need gift ideas for others on your list.

2 Customizable Embroidered Runner Towel

Found on Etsy

This is a cute gift idea for runners that can be used in the home or after a run. Pick your own personalized name to feature underneath an embroidered running shoeprint. The  lightweight towel measures 16" by 26" which is a good size for mopping off sweat after a run or workout or to use as a hand towel in a powder room.

3 Personalized Runner Holiday Ornament

Found on Etsy

Add your runner's name to this cute tank top wearing runner ornament figure. This is a quality polyresin ornament ready to be hand personalized with your specified name. This seller offers many other customizable ornaments, including a matching female runner figure. You can also find ornaments with runners in track suits.

4 Race Distances Reusable Black Cloth Mask

Found on Etsy

Get the runner on your list a face mask (so 2020) featuring a race distance (half or full marathon) or a running shoe. For the design print you can choose from gold, silver, or white.

5 Printed Tyvek Virtual Marathon Bib

Found on Etsy

Anyone who was scheduled to run a marathon in 2020 was probably crushed when the news broke that it was being cancelled. Seller CharmedRunning offers printed Tyvek race bibs for big races like Chicago, New York, and MCM. You can also send in a PDF of your own bib, from a virtual race or of your own creation, to be printed on Tyvek. This is a fun way to make your virtual race experience more real as most races offer digital bibs rather than physical, Tyvek-printed bibs.

6 Running is Essential Women's Tank Top

Found on Etsy – See more in Running & Race T-Shirts & Swag

In 2020 we learned about essential workers, essential travel, and essential activities. Runners would definitely consider running to be essential. Get this cotton racerback tank top in your choice of 5 colors and 4 sizes for women.

7 Custom Text Arm Warmer Running Sleeves

Found on Etsy

Running sleeves are nice to have as an extra easy to remove layer during colder runs. Custom sleeves like these can be used to share a message as well. Add your runner's name for him or her to wear during an upcoming major race, or words of motivation to help get through a tough run. Pick from 7 different colors and 7 different fonts.

8 Running Is My Happy Place Cross-Stitch Pattern

Found on Etsy

Looking to get crafty yourself? Purchase this PDF download cross-stitch pattern to make frameable art, a pillow, linen, or other fabric into a gift for your runner. This purchase is for the pattern only; you'll have to provide the thread and other necessary materials.

9 Custom Embroidered Runner Sweatbands

Found on Etsy

These retro style terry sweatbands are available in 12 different bold colors. You can customize headbands or wristbands in various different set configurations. Pick your thread color(s) and desired fonts for your text. There are options to add icons or images to your custom text as well. 

10 Customizable Medal Holder with Hooks

Found on Etsy

Have a totally custom medal holder made for your runner. Maybe a new runner needs a medal rack for their new collection of virtual race medals, or a seasoned runner needs more storage capacity for all of their medals. Customize text for virtual race medals, races cancelled by COVID-19, those rare in-person races that happened in 2020, or medals commemorating small group runs in this unusual year. Other ideas for personalization: your runner's name or nickname, motivational sayings, or favorite quotes from movies.

Gear for Your Gear: Alligator Clips for Medal Displays

I re-hung my medals, using the alligator clips to layer the lanyards on the medals in the middle and upper racks. The clips are unobtrusive as they hold up the lanyards to display the medals at different levels. Unfortunately, I didn't take a before photo of the rack, but you can see below that the medals are nicely staggered in three rows to make a pleasing display.