Ever since the coronavirus turned everyone’s lives upside down in March, race organizers have been trying to figure out how to survive in this new climate. The earliest and most enduring option has been virtual races. With the exception of our Red, White & Blue 5K on the 4th of July, Glory Hound Events has stayed away from this concept.
Before we explain why we don’t do them, we want to define what we believe is a virtual race:
- There are no official starts and finishes and no official timer
- You are asked to run any course that fits the length of the race, e.g. run 3.1 miles for a 5K, 6.2 for a 10K, etc.
- Courses aren’t staffed with volunteers and/or police
- Results are tabulated from times posted by the participants
Why Glory Hound Events Chose To Not Hold Virtual Races.
- They aren’t very successful. They were early in the pandemic where a Charlotte race had over 1,200 participants but the level of enthusiasm for paying for the opportunity to run by yourself on a route you run all the time has decreased. Glory Hound Events July 4th race had 95% fewer participants than what we would have seen on a normal race day. It’s hard to pay the bills (or raise funds for an organization) with these low turnouts.
- Our races are unique – and therefore, not replicable on an everyday scale. An individual running alone cannot replicate the adrenaline rush of running through the cheering crowds in Beverly Hills, the excitement of finishing in the Meadow at Highland Brewing Company with a band playing on stage at the Highland Night Flight. You can swim, bike and run just about anywhere, but will you see the bald eagles flying over Lake Logan? Even annual pass holders cannot run by the famous house on the Biltmore Estate like they would in the Biltmore/Kiwanis Classic Races. It’s like comparing apples to kumquats. These experiences are worth much more than the entry fee and cannot be offered on a virtual basis.
- Do you really want a medal for running in your neighborhood? Many virtual events are offering race shirts and finisher medals for those that participate, but is this an experience you want to value that much going forward? Will you cherish this shirt as much as the one for the race where you competed against actual people on an actual course with an actual race experience? I participated in a relay event that went virtual after the pandemic arose and we each received a medal for logging our miles. It just wasn’t the same and the medal is not hanging with my others.
- You can still support the organization or cause – Many races and their virtual versions are supporting some cause or organization. Just because the race didn’t happen in 2020 doesn’t mean you can’t still support the organization with the money you were going to spend on registration fees. Check out the list below of the non-profit organizations that Glory Hound Events races support. Consider making a donation or volunteering!
We get that some race companies have to go the virtual route to survive. We are fortunate our circumstances and business model is different. We will come out on the other side of this without going virtual but we will need your support when we get back to racing in person. Please wear a mask and practice all of the things that will end this nightmare and register for our races in 2021 and those that we can still do this year. When those days arrive, we may never want to hear the word virtual again.
Be safe out there and happy running.
Glory Hound Events Supports The Following Organizations
Land and Sky Relay
Haywood County Meals on Wheels
Local EMS Organizations
Waynesville Turkey Trot
Rotary Club of Waynesville Sunrise
About Glory Hound Events
Glory Hound Events was started in 2006, initially managing the historic Bele Chere 5K. Shortly after that first year the Lake Logan Triathlon was introduced and eventually became a part of the Lake Logan Multisport Festival. Glory Hound Events is now the largest endurance event management company in the Western North Carolina region, producing an average of eighteen events annually. In addition to producing its own events and those for a variety of clients, Glory Hound Events offers consulting services for events outside of Western North Carolina looking to take theirs to the next level.