Setting Up a Virtual Event
In this time of health crisis, social distancing and
discouragement of large crowds gathering, a viable alternative for race
organisers – especially those who organise charity events – is the virtual
A virtual event enable entrants to still undertake the
physical challenge, without the face to face competition of having lots of
people around you. It’s not ideal for
everyone, but it gets a result recorded, and can also be viewed as a panacea in
these usual times.
The main characteristic of a virtual event is honesty – a
competitor may have to be taken at their word that the results they upload is
what they actually did. Some virtual
events will demand a GPX file uploaded from services such as Strava or Garmin
Connect, before a result is verified. Some organisers may simply ask you verify your
details such as Date of Birth.
Whatever the method used, the nature of virtual events makes
them unsuitable for highly competitive scenarios such as Ironman triathlon, or qualifying
events where the result has to be verifiable.
To stage such an event, you need to have your usual
registration mechanisms in place, capturing such things as name, date of birth,
location, event entered, and a contact detail such as phone number or email
The event itself can take place anywhere the entrant chooses
– at home on a treadmill, on the actual official course, or on another course
of the same length and characteristics.
The common factor for all options should be distance – easy enough to
set up on a treadmill or virtual device, and SatNav devices make it simple to
do outdoors as well.
Once the entrant has a time for their endeavours, they send it
to the organiser, who collates them in the results. Because of the nature of the event, these
results are no longer instantaneous, but will gradually be compiled over a
period of team. The organiser meeds to
set a deadline for the lodgement of results, after which the entrant is deemed
Some race timing companies now offer a service where your
virtual results can be tabulated in a real results grid – with placings,
category results, and downloadable such as certificates and medal inserts
available. This takes the pressure of
the organiser, as entrants themselves can upload their times to the results
site, and verify their identity.
Virtual events are limited only by the number of people who wish to enter them, but in the current climate of COVID-19, or other natural disasters and weather events, they offer a means to restore some normalcy to upturned lives, and if they are a charity event, continue to do the good that these events intended. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how I can help you with your virtual event.