Staying Fit and Nerdy While at Home
Virtual nerd races you can do virtually anywhere
By MJ Wilke
What is a virtual race? It is an actual event that you participate in, complete the distance and achieve a medal. What makes it virtual? You choose the time and place; it doesn’t have the structure or pressure of a timed race event like the Boston Marathon. It is not run in a virtual reality experience or a game, it is real sweat and real achievement. Anyone can join the fun, from the first-timer walking the race to the long-time runner. Here is an explanation from the folks at Potterhead Running Club (PRC):
“A virtual run is a real event that can be done anywhere, at any time, by anyone, at any pace. You can run, walk, skip, frolic or hop. Choose your favorite trail, track or treadmill – it is all up to you. The great part? You earn a really cool medal! Even better? The proceeds go to our awesome charity partners! PRC is changing the muggle world, one mile at a time! Because at Potterhead Running Club, we solemnly swear that we are up to so much good!”
The great thing about the flexibility of a virtual race is it can be adapted to whatever variation of isolation, shelter-in-place, stay-at-home order you are under. You can run/walk solo, with your family or socially distanced from friends. The location can be anywhere that works for you, including setting up a marathon course in your backyard (YouTube is full of videos), your neighborhood or a park. You can even complete these races on a treadmill or as laps around your apartment. Do the distance all at once, or break it up and do a little every day. The virtual race is an honor system, no proof needed that you completed it.
Keep it nerdy by doing a fandom virtual race. Nerds come in all shapes and sizes – indoor kids, outdoor kids and in between. For some, the most exercise they get is the comic-con exhibit floor marathon but for others, they track their fitness routine Ravenclaw style with charts, graphs, algorithms, etc.
How to Plan Your Virtual Race
Pick Your Fandom. Numerous nerd or geek running clubs on the internet offer virtual races such as Fanthropy Running Clubs by Random Tuesday, a 501c3 non-profit; runDisney Virtual Series; and Moon Joggers. Many currently have COVID-19 relief specific charity runs such as Moon Joggers’ “The Great Toilet Paper Chase 2020.” The clubs design and produce the medals and running bibs. Membership is not required. You can choose the current promoted race or a medal from past events if it meets your fandom better and if the medal is still available.
Choose How, When and Where. Do you want to complete the race before or after you get the medal? The medals are mailed, once the registration period closes on an event. It is a benefit to have the medal in hand for photos or an online finish line party. Past events medals may ship earlier. Set up a finish line at home with the medals awarded while your cheer squad of family and friends applaud from a streaming service.
Throw in Some Style. Wear your favorite fandom tee, or order the shirt that goes along with the medal. If running as a group (socially distant of course) or family, have T-shirts specially made. Maybe even run all or part of the race in costume. Play soundtracks while racing or make a special playlist; runDisney Virtual race registrations come with playlists. Are you running in your backyard in a Whovian race? Yell out to your neighbors, “Laugh Hard, Run Fast, Be Kind,” as they wave you on. To get kids involved, check out all the amazing Harry Potter medals available from the Potterhead Running Club with downloadable running bibs and kilometer trackers (great for coloring by kids and adults). Although the possibilities are endless, here are a few ideas on how to add nerd style to your virtual races.
Doctor Who – Whovian Running Club River Song Hell in High Heels 12k.
Make it a “marathon” (well, 12k) weekend or week, break it up into small chunks or go all out in a day. Watch - River Song episodes in her chronological order, a bit timey wimey. Read - The Legends of River Song. Listen - Big Finish audio drama: The Diary of River Song and/or Melody Malone audio book while running/walking.
Gilmore Girls – Chilton Running Club None. Plus? 5k.
Throw a Gilmore Girls Facetime binge watching slumber party with just Luke coffee episodes. Pinterest is full of Gilmore Girls specific party decorating and food ideas. Next morning do the None. Plus? 5k race while listening to the show’s soundtrack. Complete it with a medal ceremony.
Here is a sampling of the fandom virtual race medals available online:
Enjoy your fandom, and when you see me out pacing back and forth in my backyard be sure to yell out, “Laugh Hard, Run Fast, Be Kind!”
MJ Wilke is the founder of Wayward Nerd. She is a road warrior. A nerd. A trekkie. A whovian. A Star Wars fanatic. She will go where no one has gone before, come back and post it here.