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Create a Virtual Race

Going Virtual with RunSignup


Enhancing the Virtual Race Day Experience

Running is Social.  Before social distancing regulations, it was standard for runners to join races as teams, carpool to the start, run in groups, and stick around for a post-race celebration. Often, even virtual race participants would join up to run together. 

With Social Distancing, all that has changed. But running solo doesn't mean eliminating the community aspect of races. In fact, it's just the opposite: it's more important than ever for races to create a social, interactive Virtual RaceDay Experience!


Groups/Teams: Use the distance to your advantage. 

No, participants can't high five at the finish line. But they can run "with" their friends and family across the country. Encourage participants to invite their loved ones who aren't usually able to join them on race day!

Groups/Teams: Just because they're running apart doesn't mean they can't be a part of a social team! A few fun ways to use groups in a virtual race:

  • Let participants create teams to represent their schools, companies, running clubs, or just as a group of friends
  • Incentives like a special prize for group size (to avoid extra shipping, try something intangible, like a coupon code for a future race)
  • Add a fun competition! For example, the team with the best costume or most signs - with a picture collage to show off their (separate) fun
  • Encourage teams to run at the same time and day and Zoom afterwards to share their experience
  • Suggest that group members run as a "relay", where each runner calls the next when they finish to get the next runner to start


Facebook and Instagram

Put the social in Social Media! Create a Facebook group and an Instagram page and share the word by including the link to join in the confirmation email, registration follow-up emails, on your website, and on your regular social media pages. The goal is for your Facebook Group to provide a virtual meeting space for participants to discuss training, share their race day experience, and receive virtual cheer. Recommendations include:

  • Extend the RaceDay experience by encouraging interaction and advice pre-race (swapping notes about routes, offering training advice, etc.)
  • Get people excited (and accustomed to sharing on Facebook) with regular prompts. For example, questions about favorite running routes, what they're wearing on RaceDay, and how they motivate themselves to do their best run
  • Encourage the sharing of selfies before and after completing the race distance
  • Create a hashtag to encourage more sharing on Instagram and throughout Facebook
  • Use the Instagram story feature to share participants' posts about the race  (tell them to tag you in their photos or on their own Instagram stories on race day)



Go Live!

Use Facebook Live or Instagram Live (or both!) to livestream a key moment or moments throughout the race. Live-worthy moments include:

  • A Virtual Kickoff 
  • A conversation with your nonprofit partner, highlighting the difference donations have made
  • A shout-out of all the runners who completed their race distance that day
  • An "awards" ceremony to close out the event


RaceJoy for Virtual Races

Add a spectator experience with RaceJoy for Virtual Races, whether you have set course options or a RaceJoy Anywhere option. Find a RaceJoy Provider here.

You can learn more about the benefits of RaceJoy for a race organizer in this webinar, but the benefits for a runner's RaceDay experience are clear:

  • Live GPS tracking of a participant's location to allow supporters to follow along
  • Real-Timer cheer sending from remote spectators (with custom cheers!)
  • Progress alerts at every mile (no timing equipment required)
  • In-app communications from the race, such as audio sound files to highlight points along the course 
  • A monitoring dashboard for the organizer, enabling race director to "Announce" their finish on Facebook as they cross the virtual finish line


Digital Bibs for Virtual Runners

Pre-Race bibs allow you to automatically generate a customizable virtual bib number for your participants to download, share, or print. This enhances the Race Day experience by giving them a bib they can run with - or just use for more "official" Race Photos.

  • Create a custom design of 775px x 600px to showcase your brand and make people more likely to share them. Canva is a good free tool you can use for graphics.
  • Use a single design for all race distances, or create unique designs for each event.
  • Add components (like name and race name) to the bib, assign bib numbers to get a pre-race bib for each runner.
  • Let your participants know how to find and download their bib - and encourage them to share photos with it!

How-To for Setting up Digital Bibs
How-To for Your Participants To Download Their Digital Bibs
Catch up on the session on Digital Bibs and Finisher Certificate here.


Finisher Certificates

Even if you're shipping a medal, there's nothing quite like a custom reward for your race finish. Finisher's Certificates are simple to setup, easy to customize, and give participants something they can download and print at home to highlight their accomplishment. Make your certificates special!

  • Customize and upload a base certificate that shows off your brand. Canva is a good free tool if you need graphics help!
  • Customize the certificates with personal data components such as name, finish time, and event distance.
  • Make sure you tell participants how to find their certificate...and encourage them to print them out and share them in your Facebook Group or post on their Instagram story and tag you.

Review the How-To for Finisher's Certificates here.
Share a How-To with your participants to help them find their Finisher's Certificate here.
Catch up on the session on Digital Bibs and Finisher Certificate here.

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