Virtual Runner

Have an excuse not to run? Too busy to exercise? I completely understand. Last winter seemed unusually long. We binge watched a lot of Netflix and then went to Planet Fitness every week to run on the treadmill (B-O-R-I-N-G). Ellipticals and treadmills are better than nothing but they’re not very inspiring. 

I think that’s why so many people abandon their New Year’s resolutions before the end of January. I am easily bored and need variety. During the summer we bike, kayak, paddleboard, swim and hike. Last winter I realized that I don’t like working out. I like having fun. My goal for the year is to try to be physically active all 12 months. I hate the cold, so this is a big challenge for me.

To get me through the winter blues I decided to try something new: Virtual Racing. A virtual race can be run at any location—no travel expenses. They typically offer T-shirts, medals, bling, and a Facebook group so you feel connected to other runners. They provide tremendous opportunity to support charities and get you out of a training rut. They also eliminate that fear of crossing the finish line last. 

I signed up for the Shoe Year’s Day Virtual 5K. This event was being run as an actual race in many Michigan State Parks but none that were close to me so I ran as a virtual runner. The charity partner for this race was the Michigan DNR.


  • Choose your venue: your favorite park, trail or neighborhood. (I ran at Bishop Lake State Park)
  • Complete the run between Jan. 1 and Jan. 7
  • Share a selfie or photo showing a screen shot of your mileage and time on the Shoe Years Day Virtual 5K Facebook page


Bling for this race was a medal and a t-shirt to show my support of Michigan state parks. So cool!!!

Sadly, I didn’t love virtual racing. I think you miss out on the best part of race day: the excitement, the vendors, the after party, the traffic… (Ok. The lack of traffic and ease of parking was great). But it did keep me motivated for my next run. 

More on this next time…Keep moving.

Written by Marty Button, 2016 Michigan Fitness Ambassador

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