Local Communities Embrace Virtual Events

Every morning, we wake up to a Google Alert with all the news that includes “RunSignup”. Occasionally it’s news about us; more often, it’s local news about races that use our platform and link to their registration. Lately we’ve seen a shift: all the races popping up are virtual, and the local news is learning about virtual events in real time – and passing that onto their readers.

If you’re going virtual, reach out to your local media! While news used to be the first place races went for exposure, that’s largely been replaced by social media. Today, news organizations may be flooded with COVID-19 news, but their events calendars are blank and they represent a great opportunity to reach local community members who likely would not have considered a virtual event previously.

Tips on media coverage for your virtual event:

  • Connect your virtual event to the community by highlighting either the tradition involved, or the benefits of encouraging physical activity
  • Be prepared to explain what a virtual race is – while they’ve been around for years, many people haven’t heard of them
  • Share examples of large virtual races, like The Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee and The Virtual Big House 5K to demonstrate the appetite for virtual events
  • Emphasize family and community, and the idea that participants can run “together” even if they are hundreds of miles apart
  • Talk about your cause. Whether you’re a nonprofit or donating a portion of proceeds, people are inspired by helping others, especially now. Bonus points if your cause is also local!
  • As always, share what makes your race unique – whether that’s a costume requirement, cool swag, or a virtual team competition.

For some examples of fun local coverage and inspiration for approaching your news outlets, check out this recent roundup of Virtual Events in the media:

Virtual racing almost as cool as the real deal, in The Intelligencer

  • The ultimate in local news coverage: highlighting events like The New Jersey Virtual Challenge as a part of a bigger piece on how cool virtual events can really be

Many endurance races in Central Oregon being held virtually, in The Bend Bulletin

Virtual Run: Race organizers keep Jim Fixx Memorial Day event alive, in the Greenwich Time

Third annual Wildcat 5K Walk/Run and Mile Fun Run shifting to be held virtually, in The Gardner News

  • Track and Cross Country programs often rely on local races for proceeds to support their teams – so the GHS Cross Country and Track Boosters are hosting a Virtual Edition of their Wildcat 5K and Mile Fun Run

Harbor House launches online chat hotline, prepares virtual 4K event, in the Kankakee Daily Journal

  • Harbor House was planning a 4K for 40 Years race to celebrate ovre 40 years in their community – so they aren’t letting coronavirus stop them, instead opting to take the run virtual

Fleet Feet Celebrates Global Running Day with Nationwide Virtual Running Event, from 69 WFMZ-TV

With Global Running Day Approaching, Fleet Feet is Making “My Big Run” Virtual, in Footwear News

  • Fleet Feet is taking it’s fourth annual Global Running Day event, The Big Run, virtual – with a re-brand as My Big Run

Walkway Over the Hudson postpones June race series, hosts virtual mile race, in the Poughkeepsie Journal

  • While their one-mile race series is on hold, runners are invited to participate in a virtual one-mile – on the walkway, or anywhere in the world

Pizza palooza, Fulton ChalkFest, and more: Virtual things to do in CNY, on Syracuse.com

Your Kansas City virtual fun planner, in The Kansas City Star

  • In this community round-up, the Sock & Undie Rundie is in fun company – highlighted alongside a Quarantine Cat Film Fest and a Children’s Museum Virtual Trivia Night

The Arc of Somerset to Host First Virtual Walk and 5K Event, in the Patch

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