Friday, October 18, 2013

Virtual Racing: racing in your own neighborhood

I'll be honest, I'd never even heard of virtual races more than a year ago. When I did start hearing about them, I really couldn't wrap my head around why people would do them or how they work. 

I figured it was gimmicky - more of a way to pretend that a group was running together. Honestly, it lacked the sense of competition and accomplishment I enjoy in a "real" race. Then I found Jost Running. That's when I realized virtual racing can be real racing and not just another run. 
Jost Running: the virtual racing company

Jost Running was created by a mother-daughter team who share a love of running and races, but not the expense and travel. It can get expensive and definitely time consuming to participate in races regularly. So Courtney Klein and her mother Cynthia Murray Elder came up with this reasonably priced, charity supporting, medal toting race organization. And they do take their race medals seriously - here's just a few previous medals you can check out:
Jost Running: the virtual racing company
Jost Running: the virtual racing company

They regularly choose different charitable organizations to support with proceeds from these races. In their inaugural month (August of this year), they chose to support the ALS Association. (ALS is also known as Lou Gherig's disease.) They designed their medals accordingly with baseball diamonds and hot dogs. And if you don't get why, I have no idea who you are or where you're from.

In regard to the relationship between Jost Running and its charitable contributions, Cynthia is quoted as saying:
Running and Charities have gone hand in hand since forever, but local races can be limiting in what they can do and how far they can reach. We think that combining a virtual race with fundraising is a great way to increase the donation. Without a specific racing location the quantity of runners is infinite, making the possibilities endless. 

Jost Running: the virtual racing company

So how does it work? It's pretty simple. You go to, choose a race, and register. When it comes to the designated week, run (or walk) your distance, turn in your time, and then wait for your totally awesome medal to arrive in the mail. And because everyone turns in their times, you get to see how you did in comparison with your competition. 

What makes it even more cool is that they offer all different distances. Most virtual races I've come across in the past are limited to 5k. Jost Running offers 5k, 10k, half marathon, and even full marathon. This just may be how I finally get my first half marathon done

And no one is saying that virtual racing is the only way to go. Even the people behind Jost Running don't limit themselves to only running virtual races. It's just a great alternative. I know, and I've said this MULTIPLE times before, signing up for races keeps me motivated in my daily runs. 

If you're interested in learning more, go to their website (obviously). Or... if you happen to be heading to the Marine Corps Marathon this month (October 24-26) - Jost Running will have a booth there! Cynthia will be competing in the marathon, while their blogger Helenna will represent them in the 10k. 

I love companies that truly represent what they sell. 

Jost Running will also be at the Richmond Marathon weekend expo (November 14 -15). The awesome Cynthia will be participating in the marathon (I know, right?!). Her daughter Courtney will be doing the half, and Helenna will do the 8K.  

This race is especially important to us because the Richmond 8K was my first race, and the first time that Cynthia (my mom) and I ran together.  So you could kind of say that Richmond's race weekend started all of this. - Courtney Klein

I'm not much of a drinker, but if you are, or you just love Oktoberfest, or leiderhosen, or supporting awesome food banks (the Midwest Food Bank, in this case), there is still time to sign up to race this month and get one of these amazing medals: 
Jost Running: the virtual racing company

Have you participated in a virtual race before? Would you be at all interested in teaming up with me for one of these races in the near future? (Yes, I absolutely intend to sign up with them!) And are there any particular causes you would especially like to see Jost Running support in upcoming races? I'm sure they'd love to hear your suggestions! They're pretty awesome like that. 

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