Why Extending Virtual Race Event Duration is NOT OK
Have you joined a virtual race and found the target distance you registered for is actually more than you can handle? Or an unforeseen event forced you to not complete your target distance? Before contacting the organizers and asking for extension for your specific case, here are some things that you might want to know:
1. ORGANIZERS: Event duration is fixed and final
The event duration is announced on the posters and all materials during the registration period. This is similar to the cut-off times set by race event organizers in your conventional races. In these races, after a set cut-off time, you will be considered DNF(Did Not Finish). The same goes for virtual races. A cut-off is set by the organizers, announced in all marketing materials. Once it is announced, it is final.
2. FELLOW RUNNERS: Everyone else has the same virtual race duration
All participants are given the same virtual race duration. Organizers are entrusted to maintain fairness among all participants by making the challenge duration equal, and as announced.
But of course, there may be some specific arguments to the general point above. Based on our 4-year experience in organizing virtual races, here are some concerns on Virtual DNFs and how they are compared to regular organized races/fun runs:
“But how about our shirts and medals? We paid for them, right?”
These are Finisher’s entitlements and are earned by completing the target distance. The same is true for conventional races, where you are not supposed to get a finishers shirt or medal if you did not cross the finish line after the cut-off.
“Then, in that case, our payment just went to the organizer’s pocket?”
Aside from the operating costs, some virtual race organizers give a substantial amount of the proceeds to a donation component. As for the shirts and medals, it is more on the matter of integrity of the event, rather than the monetary value of the items. After the registration period, organizers will base the volume of the finishers entitlements on the registration count. This means that all participants are allotted with their finishers entitlements, even at the start of the event. So this will beg the question of: Why not just give it to us if it was already produced? Virtual Race events are usually honesty-based system. Even the uploading of activity records are all based on self-monitored efforts by each runner. As organizers, we would like to keep this spirit of integrity in full circle with the runners, such that you entrust us with keeping the rules of the event and not treat the finishers items as a merchandise.
“We encountered an unforeseen event this past few days…”
When we register for conventional races and some unforeseen event prevented us from going to the race venue at the gunstart, we are considered DNS (Did Not Start). In Virtual Races, you are given several days to plan ahead and schedule your runs (For more on how to plan your Virtual Race, check this ARTICLE). There are lots of contingencies that can be done on a Virtual race versus a conventional race if you really want to finish it. For the past years, we have witnessed injured participants doing their therapy walks to finish the race, running groups finding safe running grounds despite less-than normal weather, and individuals pushing through several obstacles just to make sure they finish on time. These experiences are what makes us stand by our duty to maintain the integrity of each Virtual Race events and ensure that everyone will be given the same cut-off for each participant of every event.
“But other Virtual Race organizers are giving extensions to their events…”
Virtual Racing in the Philippines is quite young. Most organizers may still be testing the waters and trying to establish their set of rules. VirtualRacePH, on the other hand, together with those who have been running with us since 2016 have been at the forefront of this running revolution but have been firm that all our events does NOT EXTEND its duration as part of our objective — to MOTIVATE. We are calling forth other Virtual Race organizers, both our peers and upcoming ones, to follow suit and help make Virtual Race a venue of integrity and equality. If there have been cases in conventional races such as those cutting the course, passing of bibs, and the likes that compromises the event’s quality, let us then make Virtual Races a sanctuary for people who wants to maintain integrity in the events they participate in.
As a fellow runner, would you join a Virtual Race event knowing that it might give special treatment to other groups/individual, while you persevered to finish on your given cut-off? How would you feel if your hard-earned finisher’s medals and shirts are treated as merchandise and given to other participants who “finished the race” beyond cutoff?
In the end, it is not just the Virtual Race organizers’ duty to maintain the integrity of its events. This is all in cooperation with you, our fellow runners and advocate, to ensure that each Virtual Race event is an event worth joining.