Race Report by John D Bennett
Virtual 5k Race May 2020 – Virtual Warwickshire Road Race League (vWRRL)
The first Virtual Warwickshire Road Race League (vWRRL) race was 5km during the month of May 2020. It was a great challenge in the socially distanced COVID-19 world we now all inhabit.
For a virtual race, where you’re challenged to run 5k on a roughly flat course, the first challenge is to select your route and meet the requirement for limited net elevation i.e. don’t pick a route with a long down hill finish! For me, as a resident of Dunchurch, route selection was actually quite straightfoward. There is a mixed cycle path / pavement from Dunchurch that heads north east towards Ashlawn School which is actually about 5km away and it is quite flat. Whilst there is the scope for 5km in one direction (with a slow amble back), I opted for 2.5 km out and back so I could get home for breakfast afterwards. For this route, the path is such that I was almost always able to move to one side to provide an appropriate distance between other runners, cyclists and walkers and avoid the COVID-19 dance.
In terms of approach, I decided to pick a date and give it my best shot. I realise that under the rules, it would be possible to have a few attempts during the month of May 2020 and pick the best one. However, I decided to pick a day and go for it… just like a ‘normal’ race. In terms of the actual race it went really well at 26:21 and I didn’t really need to stop to maintain a social distance whilst out on the course. The lack of commuting during the COVID-19 lockdown has given me more time to train and it shows. The last 5km I ran at around this pace was the summer of 2017. This virtual race reminded me that racing against yourself is tough; the challenge of running with others really does help.
Sadly, there isn’t a chip in your number for a virtual race and not even a barcode / timekeepers! So, once you’ve recorded your 5km run, there is a requirement to submit your data to the vWRRL organisers via the opentrack website based on data from Strava or Garmin (or other similar evidence). These instructions on uploading are great – https://docs2.opentrack.run/
For anyone interested, this the link for the results, there are separate races for ladies and gents – https://data.opentrack.run/x/