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Making the switch to Virtual Races

Many of you would have never taken part in a virtual marathon before, some may never have even taken part in a running event at all. The aim of this blog post is to address some of the concerns you may have about the online race format.

Marathons have been increasingly making the switch to online races. Big events such as the Edinburgh marathon, or the Virgin Money London Marathon last year, have been hitting calendars for 2021 as virtual events.

While the distances may be the same, there are some significant differences between a virtual and in -person event. The following list provides some suggestions for preparing for your first (and perhaps not last) virtual event.

Choosing a route

Preparation is key to a virtual event. Usually the event organisers will have spent hours to map out a good route to run, with a virtual event it is up to you. However, there are things you can do to prepare yourself fully for the run.

  • Get on maps, look for places in your local area that are interesting or pretty, a good view can make the run more enjoyable. Variety is the spice of life!

  • Get out and trial parts of the run, or the whole run! – A good idea is to trial parts where you might be concerned about the condition of the path, how busy it is and whether the route is closed at any point.

  • Choose as flat a route as possible – make it as easy as possible for yourself! Unless you prefer a challenge, of course.

  • Pay attention to the government guidelines in your area. It is your responsibility to train and race within the lockdown regulations in your area. Check these frequently to stay on top of any changes.


Unlike a marathon where safety is prioritised in a route, in a virtual event there is a certain amount of self-responsibility in picking a safe route and avoiding endangering yourself and others.

  • Stick to well-lit paths and try avoiding areas that you have never been to.

  • Make sure you have plenty of charge in your phone or tracking device.

Join the community

A good way to keep yourself motivated is to join a runner's community, whether that is using the runners' area on our website, or joining MyFinishLine, being part of a community can help motivate yourself and others.

  • Use social media to share your runs, make sure to tag the Meadows Marathon social media accounts!

  • Get in contact with the charities you are raising money for. Whether this is just to educate yourself on what they do, or simply let them know you are raising money for them, it makes the fundraising more personal.

  • Encourage your friends to join you. Asking your friends to sign up with you can give you people to practice with or just some company on those longer runs! Sharing in the achievement of completing a running event can be a great way to socialise with your friends online in these difficult times when your loved ones might be far away.

Nutrition and Hydration

If you were running the meadows marathon last year or any years previously, you will know that there are water stations provided for your convenience.

Make sure you pack enough water, or plan a stop or stops at your own home to rehydrate.

  • Use the MX hydration provided in your runner pack!

  • Prepare some food for yourself in advance for after the race. You will probably be tired and having a pre-made meal will save you time.

  • Ensure you have a way of disposing of litter on a run. If you are running in areas where there are fewer bins, make sure you have room in your pockets to keep your energy bar wrappers etc.

The team from Meadows Marathon wish you the best of luck with your race!


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