2020 will be remembered as a year of cancelled events thanks to ‘Rona (or Covid-19 as it is officially known) and us trail runners have been a particularly disappointed bunch. By definition, trail running is a sport that requires the outdoors. Still, people gotta adapt, eh?
As most marathons and trail races have been postponed or moved to next year, there’s been a rise in virtual races and running/climbing challenges. Initially presented by race organisers as an alternative, the virtual challenges are fast becoming the main monthly or even weekly, event. There are so many to choose and everyone’s planning one, from consumer brands and charities to running clubs and groups of friends.
From running a marathon in a tiny living room to climbing indoor building stairs, these challenges offer something for for all tastes and types. Below a sampling of the best virtual running challenges in Hong Kong, Asia and worldwide so you can get joining ASAP.
1. Covid-19 Hong Kong Virtual Marathon
When: Now till 31 August
Run a full 42K marathon, half-marathon, 10K or just walk 3K with your family and friends to support over 40 charities in Hong Kong. The event was initially planned to finalize on 25 June but it got so popular, that the deadline and the number of charities have been extended. It’s a great opportunity to explore new trails and crash your PBs (personal best) on the familiar tracks. Not a runner? Just start with the easy walk and you won’t even notice how suddenly you might end up running your first 5K or 10K!
How to join?
Go over to their website and choose your distance and charity.
2. Wanderlust Walking Challenge – Rome Edition
When: 1 – 31 August
Visiting Paris is a big dream for nearly every person on Earth. So why not explore this beautiful city virtually while running, cycling, or just walking! You need to complete either 100K or 200K or 300K steps in August unlocking the rewards that feature different sites of one of the most popular cities in the world. How fast will you climb to reach the top of the Eiffel Tower? Previous editions included London, Seoul, Rome and Venice, and you can also sign up for theme-based virtual races, like Safari trips or Carnival.
How to join?
Register for the challenge HERE.
3. STAR WARS Virtual Run 2020
When: Now – 29 September
We may all need some force this year. Join the first ever Star Wars Virtual Run alone or with a team and become unstoppable. Run at least 5.4km to receive a Silver Resistance Trophy or 40km for a Gold Darth Vader Trophy. Make sure to upload the proof of each activity in any relevant app that you use. You can even go crazy and run in the Star Wars costume?
How to join?
Register HERE and follow the further instructions.
4. Strava Run/ Climb/ Cycle Challenges
One of the most popular Facebook-like apps for athletes has monthly challenges in each category: 5K, 10K, Half-Marathon, Full Marathon, Running Distance Challenge (up till 200K), Climbing Challenge (up till 2,000m elevation gain). You can try any of them by simply clicking the join button and receive your finisher badge as soon as you’ve completed a specific challenge. The best thing about it? Strava will take care of all the technical details as it’s already synced with your fitness apps and watches. Sometimes, big consumer brands, like Nike or Lululemon and global NGOs use Strava to run their one-off challenges dedicated to the specific cause.
How to join:
Create the profile on Strava and sync it with your fitness tracker HERE.
5. Run The Philippine Mountains
When: 25 July – 1 August
Run seven mountains in seven days from anywhere in the world! The Philippines attract millions of tourists for their gorgeous islands and beaches. But have you climbed any of the peaks in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao? While the borders still remain closed you can prepare for your next trip to the Philippines by unlocking the new sites: from level #1 with Mount Parawagan (450m elevation gain) to level #7 with Mount Pulag (2926m) or Mount Apo (2956m).
How to join?
Go over to the official website and sign up for the challenge. The fee is P350 and includes the sponsors’ goodie bag.
Lead image courtesy of Jurien Huggins.