A virtual race can be run (or walked!) anytime and anywhere, even indoors on a treadmill. Participants in Virtual Strides virtual races earn awesome medals for themselves while raising money for charity. Watch this video for a quick summary of how everything works.
Yes! Young or old, fast or slow – we encourage participants of all ages and ability levels.
We call our events “runs,” but walkers are certainly welcome!
Most participants complete their virtual race all at once, but we understand that not everyone is able to complete our minimum 5k distance in one outing. Others like to set a very long goal and chip away at it over the course of a month (or longer), which is perfectly fine too! What we are doing here at Virtual Strides is less about strict rules than it is about providing motivation to help with your personal goal setting, while raising money for great causes in the process.
So set your goal – whatever that may be – and go out and accomplish it! If you want to break up your virtual race into multiple segments, that’s perfectly fine. You can submit your results when you reach your goal distance, or you can upload your results as you go. If you use any of the run-tracking apps that our system integrates with, you will be able to select multiple runs/walks and our system will add them up for you, no problem.
After submitting partial results, you will be able to see your progress toward your goal.
Our events are about providing you with motivation to achieve your personal goals, whatever those may be. So yes, you can complete the distance you register for however you choose.
If you’d like to BIKE the distance, choose the “Custom Challenge” option when registering and select “Bike” for the mode. For any other method, you can choose “Run/Walk” for now. We will likely add more modes in the future, so if there is something specific you are wanting to do, Contact Us and let us know.
Custom Challenges are perfect for people who want to run or walk a distance other than our standard 5k, 10k, and Half Marathon options. They are also perfect for people who would like to do something other than run or walk, like Biking, for example. You can create your own Custom Challenge during the registration process. Here’s what registering for a full Marathon would look like, for example:
Please read our Custom Challenges blog post for more information.
We accept results on the honor system, so you can track your distance and time however you like. The most accurate way to do this is by using a Running GPS watch, but there are also several free smartphone apps available for iPhones and Android devices that you may be interested in. Please see our Best Free Run-Tracking Apps page for some suggestions.
Our results system integrates with several popular run tracking services, so you can submit your results in any of the following ways:
Virtual Strides virtual races can be completed anytime and anywhere you want. We release a new event every month, and each has an “Original” race period. You do NOT need to complete the distance by any end date. All the end of the race period represents is the date that we consider an event a “Past Event” and when we send the medals from that event to everyone who has not yet uploaded their results. We do things this way so we don’t end up holding medals that people paid for forever, in case they are unable to upload their results for whatever reason.
We guarantee that medals will be available through the entire original race period (we produce more when necessary), and we make our charity donation at the end of the race period as well. Once the original race period passes, we will close registration when we sell out of medals – this could be weeks, months, or even years later.
We would encourage you to submit the results from all of the events you participate in, of course, but don’t worry about “end dates” or anything like that. As long as you are registered before we sell out of medals (and close registration), you are all set.
Life happens. We get it.
At the end of the race period, we ship medals to everyone who registered but never submitted their results, so if you don’t complete your run by then, you’ll still get your medal. Feel free to submit your results whenever you DO complete your run, so we can add your time to our Event Results and your photo to our Finisher Photos.
You will be prompted to create a Virtual Strides account during the checkout process. It is not possible to (nor would there be any reason to) create an account before completing your first purchase.
In order to create a Virtual Strides account, you need to complete a purchase. You will be prompted to select a username and password during the checkout process.
After adding the first registration to your cart, return to the registration page and add the next one and so on. You can then proceed to the checkout screen and pay for them all at once. We need to do it this way so you will be able to select each person’s race distance and enter each of their names for their custom bibs.
If you don’t care about customizing the bibs and are OK with them all looking the same (but still with different numbers), you can increase the quantity selector on the registration page and add them all to your cart at once. For example, if you wanted to order 25 medals for a group and wanted the name on each bib to be “Run Club,” you could change the quantity to 25 and add them all to your cart at once. If however, you wanted different bibs for each person, you’d need to add them one at a time.
Absolutely. We always order enough medals to ensure we have enough to last through the entire registration period. This means we almost always have some left when each race period ends.
You can view our Previous Virtual Runs page to see all of our past events. Our website controls our inventory, so if you are physically able to register for a past event, that means we still have medals available. You are encouraged to submit your results after you complete your run, but that’s not required. We ship medals from past events right away.
And yes, we will still make a donation to that event’s featured charity for your registration.
3. Club VS
Club VS is an optional (joining is not required to participate in our virtual races) one-year membership that comes with many benefits, including discounts on virtually everything on our website, a free gift for joining, and more. You can join Club VS for only $25 per year and your membership will renew automatically unless you disable this from the Club VS tab on your My Account page (this is as simple as clicking a button).
You can learn more about Club VS and it’s benefits in our Introducing Club VS blog post.
This will keep your Club VS subscription Active, so you can continue to enjoy your membership benefits all year. When your renewal date comes, you will not be charged automatically and will need to renew manually.
That’s right – you will receive a real, professionally-printed, tear-resistant, water-resistant, custom bib within days of placing your ordering! You can read more about our premium printed bibs in this blog post.
The Short Answer: Medals are usually* shipped to participants within a few days of when they submit their results or at the end of the race period, whichever comes first. If you want to receive your medals BEFORE submitting your results, simply check the box HERE:
The Long Answer: We typically ship medals 4-5 times per week, but not every day (we are human). We do so in the following order:
- -Orders that contain premium Printed Bibs
- -Orders that contain Shirts, Jewelry or medals from Past Races
- -Orders from people who have uploaded their results for the current month’s run or have elected to have their medals sent before doing so
- -For the people who never upload their results, we ship at the end of each race period, going from the oldest to the most recent order date until we get through them all. This can take a few days, depending on the popularity of a given event.
We never split orders and will ship all of your medals at once via USPS mail. If the total weight of your order is under 16 oz, they are shipped via First Class mail. If the weight is one pound or more, we will ship them via Priority Mail. Either way, we’ll send you an email with a USPS Tracking Number when your package ships.
*Occasionally, due to unexpected demand for a specific race or manufacturing delays beyond our control, there may be slight delays with late registrants receiving their medals. We will communicate these delays on our Shipping Delays page as soon as we are aware of the delay. You will always receive your medal within a few weeks of the end of the race period, in the absolute worst case.
We have had participants from more than 80 different countries around the world, but due European Union member states (and elsewhere) imposing VAT and other taxes and filing requirements on purchases from the USA, we have decided to stop shipping orders to all countries except for the USA, Canada, and Mexico. Shipping within the USA is a flat $5 per order, no matter how many items you purchase, and we will still ship directly to Canada and Mexico for an additional $10 (plus $2 per additional item).
For international customers who would still like to participate in any of our events, there is an alternative: Since we ship anywhere within the USA for $5, you could enter a friend’s shipping address here in the USA and ask them to send you your package. There are mail forwarding services with various plans and pricing that will do this for you as well.
We hope to be able to resume direct international shipping at some point in the future.
Personalized race bibs are generated instantly when you complete your registration.
Digital versions of these bibs are free and for your enjoyment. They are not required for you to complete your virtual run. They are available for download on your My Results page and can be accessed (and printed at home if you desire) any time.
You have the ability to edit your Bib Name and/or Distance from that page as well. If you do, you may need to refresh your browser to see the change. Bib Numbers may not be modified.
If you would like to purchase a professionally printed, tear and water resistant copy of your digital race bib, you will have that option during the checkout process. You can also order copies of any of your previously created race bibs from the Printed Bibs page.
Once in a while (very rarely), there is an error when your bib is created and it will need to be regenerated.
To do this, simply change the distance you registered for and then change it back on your My Results page. This will force your bib to be regenerated, and it will appear.
The medals for each event are exactly the same regardless of the distance you choose when you register.
Your digital race bib will be personalized with the distance you selected.
Absolutely! I Run For is a wonderful program and we are happy to support those who participate in it. Simply add a second virtual race registration (for the same race) to your cart for your buddy before checking out and use the promo code below to receive $15 off the second registration for your buddy’s medal.*
The remaining portion of the registration fee ($10-14) will go toward the cost of the medal itself, transaction fees, shipping, etc. And yes, we will donate another $5 (this is our guaranteed minimum) from this second registration to the virtual race’s featured charity, so not only will you receive medals for yourself and your buddy, but you’ll be doubling your impact for charity too!
Thank you for running for someone who can’t!
UPDATE: Due to continued abuse of this discount by people using it for themselves, not even ordering two medals from the same event, let alone one for an IR4 buddy, we have discontinued it. That said, we would still like to offer this discount to those of you who use it legitimately for your “I Run For” buddy. Please contact us after placing your qualifying order and we will refund you $15.
*This offer can not be combined with any other promotions.
If you put together a group of at least ten (10) runners who plan to run together, we can set up a promo code for everyone in your group to use. Please Contact Us for more information. Tell us the name of your group and the number of people you expect to participate on a monthly basis.
This is a great opportunity for running clubs who have regularly scheduled fun runs and want to make one of them “special” each month by offering a cool medal to interested participants. We can even ship your group leader the medals in advance if you would like to hand them out immediately after the run.
We started Virtual Strides prepared to make donations to our featured charities at the conclusion of each event, even though we had many start-up costs and fixed monthly costs to overcome that could prevent us from ending each month with a positive net income. We do not think it is fair to pass these expenses on to the charities we feature, so rather than promise to donate an unstated “portion of proceeds” or a vague “percentage of profits,” we follow the Better Business Bureau’s cause-related marketing best practice of stating exactly how much of each registration fee will be going to the featured charity.
We are committed to giving at least $5 from each registration made to that event’s featured charity. We always round up, and when we have extra medals at the end of the race period, we donate for those too, assuming that they will eventually sell from our Past Virtual Runs page. These donations apply to all registrations, including any discounted ones and even the ones we give away for free via contests on our Facebook page. Every single person who participates in our virtual races is making a difference.
We do not set minimum or maximum total donation amounts. Whether we are able to donate $2500 or $25,000 to a given charity, that is $2500 or $25,000 more than the charity would have if Virtual Strides didn’t exist. Our largest donation to date was $33,000 donated to Be the Match. Visit our Charities page to see all of our featured charities and the donations we have made.
Our virtual runs both help spread awareness and raise funds for worthwhile causes, but if you are looking to maximize your contribution to a specific charity, by all means, please donate to them directly.
Looking for an even longer answer? Please read more about Our Philosophy.
In addition to the list on our Charities page, the registration pages for each of our virtual runs have links that will take you to the featured charity’s website. If you would like to make an additional donation, please follow the link and donate directly to the charity via their website. By doing so, your donation will be both instant and tax deductible. There is no reason for us (or anyone else) to ever act as a middleman between you and a charity when you want to make an additional donation.
Virtual Strides is not a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization, but don’t let our tax classification fool you. Just because we are not officially classified as a charity by the IRS does not mean we can’t raise funds for many worthwhile organizations who are. You can see exactly how much money we have donated and to what causes on our Charities page.
Read more about our small business’ Philosophy.
Unfortunately, no. While a portion of your registration fee will be donated to charity, we are not a 501(c)(3) charity and are therefore unable to provide tax receipts to each individual registrant.
Great question. Unfortunately, there are plenty of unethical individuals in this world who say they are raising funds for charity but never actually make the promised donation. We are not like those individuals. We believe in complete transparency in this regard and post receipts from all of our donations and scans of any acknowledgement letters we receive on our Charities page.
The majority of the charities we feature have been suggested by Virtual Strides’ participants. We receive many, many charity suggestions and can’t feature them all, so we research and select organizations we feel best fit the theme of a given race. In fact, most of our virtual run ideas begin with the charity selection process.
If there is a charity near and dear to your heart, please Contact Us and we will add them to our list for future consideration. Please note, we have most of the next year planned out already and a growing list of suggestions to consider after that, so it may be quite some time before we get around to even considering your charity suggestion.
Full disclosure: We will be much more likely to choose a charity that serves a national area than any local charity. It’s not that we feel local charities are not worthy – quite the opposite! But we have found that people want to support organizations that are helping where they live, as opposed to charities based in other areas.
UPDATE: Local charities may be interested in our Partners Program, launched in mid-2016.