You might be wondering what a virtual race is. A virtual race is set up so that participants can complete the race from anywhere in the world, on any terrain, with any company they choose, at any pace (walking, running, jogging, hiking, wheelchair, or handcycling). We mail you your race packet which contains everything you need, you complete the 5k anytime between 3/7/20-3/15/20 and then email us your results & photos. Sound fun enough? If you're already convinced about the brilliance of this idea, click here for registration.
To be honest, the first time I heard about a virtual 5k I was not a supporter of it and I just didn’t understand the draw. I mean, why would I sign-up for a 5k event to complete alone and then email my results to the race organizer? The list of questions inside my head grew as I speculated the motive behind individuals creating these events and participants registering for these events.
Then, one day, I started thinking about how we (Dogs Who Jog and Pacific Hound) could partner together to attempt to change negative perceptions of virtual races and bring awareness to the benefits of a virtual race. Rather than challenging the reasons a virtual race shouldn't work, I started thinking about the reasons it should work.
Here are the top 5 reasons why I stand behind our Take a Jog & Save a Dog Virtual 5k:
1. Dog reactivity
I volunteer weekly at the local Humane Society where I run with high energy and highly stressed dogs. A lot of the dogs I interact with are dog reactive which means they have impulses to react in a not-so-positive way when other dogs are around. Not only do I see these behaviors in certain dogs at the shelter, but I also witness these behaviors in some of my Dogs Who Jog clients, as well as my own Australian Shepherds. Some dogs might interact more positively off leash compared to meeting dogs while on leash, which is obviously another element to consider when joining an event with other dogs. A dog with these behaviors would have extreme difficulty participating in a local 5k event.
I organize the Dogs Who Jog 5k/1 mile event in my local community and an obstacle that I faced when organizing the local event was realizing that many dogs could not join because of behaviors around other dogs or humans. So, how do we include all dogs in a 5k event when they struggle with being around other dogs or humans? This is where the Take a Jog & Save a Dog VIRTUAL 5k comes in! This virtual race provides an opportunity for all dogs to earn a race medal and participate in an event with their humans.
2. Fundraising for Animal Welfare Groups
Of all of the reasons to register for this virtual race, this is the most important one. This event benefits two animal welfare groups: The Humane Society of Macomb and All Points West.
3. Bringing the dog loving (and dog running) community together across the nation (and world)
Everyone is invited to participate in this 5k event whether you walk, run, jog, or hike! One of the motivating factors to creating this event was to also spread awareness and bring together the dog running community throughout the nation. In general, we want to help spread awareness of the benefits of exercise for your pup, as well as encourage the bond that is formed & strengthened when you exercise with your pup.
While our idea was created to bring the community together across the nation, we have already had participants register from other countries so it looks like we are also bringing the community together across the world!
4. Spreading positivity across social media platforms
We are subjected to negativity throughout social media platforms. Whether it be arguments about politics, criticizing beliefs, and just hateful comments in general - in a social media world of negativity, this virtual race can bring positivity and love. Who doesn’t love seeing photos of happy dogs with their happy owners?
5. Flexibility in Completing the 5k
We will mail you your race packet which includes a dog medal, matching human medal, customized dog bib, customized human bib, and a human race tee. You have the option to complete the 5k anytime between 3/7/20-3/15/20 and then email us your results and photos.
Fun fact: We chose these dates to line-up with the Iditarod (the famous sled dog race). Not sure what the Iditarod is? Learn more here. We will be posting a blog soon with more information about the Iditarod.