Virtual running is on the rise as a way to engage with your participants beyond the traditional start and finish line. Using great technology, you can easily manage participant information, ship rewards such as shirts and medals, collect tracking, post results, and engage with your customers along their virtual journey.

Below, we’ve broken down some notes and ideas for adding a virtual component to your next race.

Situations where hosting a virtual race category may boost your engagement:

  • When you have interested runners, however, there is an event cap and spots are sold out
  • When your runners head to university and can’t make it home for their annual event with family and friends
  • When your loyal customers run into a date conflict, are serving in the military, or move to another region
  • When you are looking for ways to stay connected to your customer base throughout the year
  • As a contingency exercise in the event of unforeseen race cancellation
  • When you’re kicking off a training program to stay connected year round
  • As a way for people to compete with friends/family across the country
  • Engage with the night owls who want to participate… just not at 8am

Various ways to encourage participation:

  • Work with sponsors to offer your virtual runners an online running store coupon
  • Provide medals for completion of a distance or series
  • Offer technical or lifestyle tees branded to your virtual run
  • Award participants with virtual gold stars, badges, or trophies

How Race Roster helps you provide a great virtual race experience:

  • A simple and smooth registration process
  • Customizations to remove date and location
  • Email triggers to share instructions on race tracking and posting results
  • Dashboards for participants to record distance, completion, or finish time
  • A custom branded virtual results platform
  • Merchandise tools to sell branded products both during and after registration
  • Email campaigns to promote your next in-person race

A successful virtual race program has the potential to boost your online social media engagement, strengthen brand affiliation, and keep customers more engaged over the long term. The more connected you are year round, the more likely participants are to register for your next in-person race. Our advice here is to start small, learn what works best for your organization, and see where it takes you.

Need help activating the features we mentioned? Contact our Customer Success team – we are ready to help!


Britt Shannon

Britt is our Senior Director of Customer Success based in Victoria BC. Her remote experience includes four years with Race Roster managing the Customer Success team from afar and across many time zones. When not at her laptop with a cup of coffee, you'll find Britt out for a run.