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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!
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:
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:
Use Facebook Live or Instagram Live (or both!) to livestream a key moment or moments throughout the race. Live-worthy moments include:
Add a spectator experience with RaceJoy for Virtual Races. Races that use RaceJoy set up one or a few race maps that participants can use for the race (over the course of days or weeks) - and then their friends and family can track them on course and "spectate" from a distance!
You can learn more about the benefits of RaceJoy for a race organizer, and how to find a RaceJoy Certified Timer who can help you offer it in this webinar, but the benefits for a runner's RaceDay experience are clear:
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.
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!
Review the How-To for Finisher's Certificates here.