In 2016 runDisney started something new that they had never done before, a virtual race and running series. Many organizations large and small have done virtual races which typically benefit a charity. A virtual race is something you can usually do on your own time, in a location that suits you, and without any major rules. For runDisney’s virtual races they are ran in the summer and have an overall theme. In 2016, Mickey Mouse was the theme of the races. In 2017, Pluto is the race series theme. runDisney gives you a few options in this race series. You can run just one race in the months June, July and August, or you can run the whole series and earn a total of four medals.
With the races runDisney does not require you to submit a time or proof that you have run your virtual race. As long as you sign up and pay, you get what you paid for. Some virtual races will ask for proof of completion. runDisney does allow you to enter your time online and earn a “Finishers Certificate”. Along with the medals and certificate you get a virtual race bib which you can print out and wear if you so choose.
For the 2017 series runDisney offered an incentive for signing up before April 30th, 2017 if you paid for the entire series. Along with the medals you would receive a cooling towel, collapsible dog bowl, and dog tag. Signing up after April 30th would just get you the medals and cooling towel. The dog bowl and dog tag were a nice added bonus, especially if you have a dog at home. An individual virtual race from runDisney costs $40, whereas the race series costs $142.
The June race medal features the collar and dog tag of Pluto. The July race medal features Pluto’s dog bowl and a bone. The August race medal features Pluto’s dog house. Then finally the race series medal features all three of the previous items along with Pluto himself!
As someone who has run six runDisney races at Walt Disney World, I was intrigued to see how a virtual race series would be. This option is really meant for someone who wants to run at their own pace, and on their own time. People who maybe can’t afford to run a runDisney race at one of the many race weekends, or can’t get off during those time frames, are also likely candidates for this option.
The medals themselves are huge! For a virtual race series I was expecting smaller, less intricate medals. That was not the case with these. They were as big as my Dopey Challenge medal from 2017 and had great detail. If I wasn’t already training for races I probably would not have added this into my schedule. The price isn’t that bad when you compare it to the other runDisney races, however, you really are just paying for the medal over anything else. You get the medals whether you run or not. For me, it was a nice reward for my training runs that I am already putting in.
Now the question remains as to whether or not I would do this again. The medals were really nice but I don’t feel as accomplished with these medals as I do when I cross the finish line of a race on Disney property. I think I would do the race series again if the theme is something I really like, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to do it again.
Did you run any of the virtual runDisney races? What were your thoughts?