The runners’ cramps will be real, but the New York City Marathon is going virtual this year

September 1, 2020

Even in the midst of thousands of pounding feet and sweating bodies, every marathon runner completes the 26-mile course alone—at his or her own speed; and on his or her own steam. So, in a sense, this year’s New York City Marathon—since 1970, the largest such event worldwide—will be the same as those preceding it, Runner’s World reports.

However, there will be one big change:  This year’s marathon will be held virtually rather than in-person; due to the threat of a coronavirus surge in the city as a result of the competition, itself, which attracts 500,000 of the world’s best runners; as well as crowds of cheering onlookers at every roadside throughout the course.

Runners started signing up for the virtual race on July 28, entering the event  in four pricing tiers with varying benefits and amenities—and entry to the event still is open.

In the top registration tier, runners get entry to the virtual event, receive virtual marathon training via the New York Road Runners Coaching Lab, race swag, a 60-day Strava subscription, and a non-complimentary entry into the 2021, 2022, or 2023 in-person NYC Marathon. There are 1,000 available entries for this top tier, and it is the priciest, going for $150 for NYRR members and $175 for non-members.

Slightly below that on the tier system, and for the same prices, are 200 first-come, first-served spots for those who will raise $500 or more for NYRR’s Team for Kids, the organization’s youth charity team and running program. Runners will receive the same benefits as above as well as a Team for Kids backpack and singlet, according to the Runner’s World report..

Below these two options are two tiers of unlimited virtual entries. The first is $50 for members and $60 for non-members and includes a race medal, a running buff, 50 percent off the NYRR Coaching Lab training, and a 60-day Strava subscription.

The last option is a free registration. As you can imagine, this offers the least benefits, which are 10 percent off the NYRR Coaching Lab and a 30-day Strava subscription. Race swag not included.

All entrants for the virtual race will have between October 17 and November 1 to complete their 26.2 miles, which can be done anywhere in the world.

“Our Virtual New York City Marathon will connect the global running community at a time when more and more people are running as way to stay healthy during these difficult times,” Michael Capiraso, NYRR president and CEO, said in a NYRR press release. “Although the coronavirus pandemic has forced a cancellation of this year’s in-person race through the five boroughs of New York City, we’re excited to continue taking the marathon journey with runners who will be challenging themselves on 26.2-mile courses around the world.”

New York Road Runners (NYRR), the organization that organizes the NYC Marathon, is no stranger to virtual races. After debuting its first virtual event in 2018 with Strava, it has hosted 29 since, including several during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that has canceled most races this year.

Research contact: @runnersworld

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