One of the many types of virtual challenges that have sprung up during the course of the last year is a medal challenge with the option to pick a (standard) distance and date and just go for it. There are many companies online that offer this kind of flexible challenge to help with motivation during the long wait for races to return, including my running club, Lonely Goat RC, who are the biggest affiliated running club in the UK due to being based online. They started offering the option to sign up to virtual challenges in autumn 2020, but with so many other virtuals on my schedule at the time, I didn’t end up signing up to one of their challenges until December – a time when I really needed a bit of motivation to get out the door.
5k is usually a distance that I run or surpass two or three times a week, but during November, I didn’t manage the distance at all. I had overtrained slightly for the Virtual GNR and Virtual London, and I found that my body needed a break. Prior to starting my daily running streak, I would usually find that I had a ‘winter running slump’ every year where I didn’t run at all for three to six weeks. This period from late October to mid-December 2020 was my equivalent this winter, although I did run at least a mile every day to keep the streak going!
As such, signing up to do a 5k on 27th December felt like an actual challenge! The roads were clear that morning (a rarity this winter) so I was able to go out and run my usual 5k route. I was fairly happy with my time too, considering my running had taken a back seat for a couple of months.
A few days later, the medal arrived. Bling is one of the things I miss most about races, and also one of the main reasons I’ve been doing virtuals to tide me over:
It’s a really hefty, weighty medal, well worth the cost! (You can sign up to Lonely Goat challenges for free and pay for a medal as an optional extra.)
They’ve slightly redesigned the medal and ribbon for 2021, so I will be having another crack at a Lonely Goat Virtual Challenge later this year. Distance to be announced at a later date…