Virtual Running? Virtual Races? For Real?

To be honest, until recently I had never heard of virtual running or virtual races. If it wasn’t for on an ad I came across, as I was scrolling down Facebook (mobile version), I probably still would be in the dark about these events.

Virtual races are just like traditional races with a shirt, medal, and bib except you can run, walk, hike or even run on a treadmill! You can run wherever or with whoever you want. Racers report their time and then a medal is mailed to them for completing the race.

I have been slowly training for the Honolulu Marathon but that race (in December) is over five months away. There aren’t a whole lot of races I’m interested in before the marathon. I do plan on joining some 5K and 10K virtual races to kind of reward myself during my training.

Below, I listed some of the more interesting running clubs or races that I have encountered on the web. I will also highlight if these events are connected to a charity or charities because it always feels good to run a race and know you’re also helping those in need.

Virtual Running Club

http://virtualrunningclub.com/
They are a small group of people dedicated to bringing you fun and uplifting virtual race events. Vacation Races owns and operates Virtual Running Club. They have been running virtual races for 4 years now.

They are a race company that believes that (just like traditional races) a medal should be earned by finishing the race. Each of their races has a designated charity partner. A portion of your registration fees (around 50% of proceeds) will be donated directly to the charity.

Disney Running Shorts

http://www.rundisney.com/virtual-running-shorts/

I’ve been looking a Disney marathon or half-marathon to run at either Disneyland or Disney World. I found out that these races sell out quickly, quick as in the same day registration opens. So, if you want to run in a Disney race, there is the the Virtual Running Shorts Series that happens during the Summer.

Pluto’s the honorary host this year and he’s inviting everyone to join in on a summer of magical runs on a course of your choosing. It’s your chance to experience all the excitement of a magical Disney run right in your own backyard!

Whether you want to run with your pet, go solo, or run with friends, the 2017 Virtual Running Shorts Series is a great way to celebrate a summer filled with great Disney runs and lots of fun!

Virtual Run Events

http://www.virtualrunevents.com

Virtual Run Events was created in April 2015. Why? Because they LOVE running! And even more, they LOVE connecting with runners.  Shortly after creating Moon Joggers, they realized that they could encourage people to get out and get moving, AND make a difference throughout the world.

How? By creating fun and unique events to raise money for various charities. For each event a unique medal is designed, people are invited to get out and run or walk their own race, at their own pace and choose a charity to donate a portion of the proceeds to.

They have already raised more than $300,000 for charities from running events on their website. They are making a difference one race at a time!

U.S. RoadRunning

http://www.usroadrunning.com/

Run/Walk at any location you want. You can use the treadmill, run outside, your own course, another race, or get your running group together. You can run the event any day, any time, or any place you want.

A Virtual Race is a federal trademark by US Road Running. It is a race that can be run/walked any time, any place or any location. Federal trademark sn 86511866. To view Virtual Races go to www.usroadrunning.com

Running in Honolulu – Nimitz Highway Bike/Run Path

nimitzRunning in Honolulu…when I need a nice FLAT 4 mile up and back, the perfect place to run is the asphalt bike/run path that runs along the Nimitz Highway, near the airport, in Honolulu. From town, I hop on the Nimitz Highway and drive towards Honolulu International Airport. I usually turn off on Ahua Street or Puuloa Road. Parking can be a pain because of the many commercial businesses in the area. I usually only run here on the weekends, in the morning.

The Nimitz Highway travels underneath the H1 Freeway viaduct so you are protected from the blazing afternoon sun and somewhat from the rain (the path runs underneath or along the viaduct at times). There are a few stoplights to go through but they are green, most of the time, since Nimitz Highway is the main road. There is a lot of traffic, at times, but the path is relatively safe. Just watch out for vehicles turning right onto or off the Nimitz.

nimitzNow if you’re in the mood for a long run, you can head towards the Pearl Harbor Bike Path which is around 2.75 miles away. The Pearl Harbor Bike Path will give you another 4 miles of asphalt to run on. Here’s how to get there:

  • First, cross Valkenburgh Street and continue on the bike/run path which will eventually run parallel with Bougainville Drive.
  • After approximately .8 miles, cross Radford Drive and turn to the left.
  • After approximately .2 miles, cross Kamehameha Highway and turn to the left.
  • You will stay on Kamehameha Highway for approximately 1.6 miles passing Makalapa Park, Ford Island Bridge, and Richardson Field.
  • Just after passing Aloha Stadium (on your right), turn left on short access road that will lead you to the beginning of the Pearl Harbor Bike Path.

If you happen to miss the access road to the Pearl Harbor Bike Path, there are other access points that you can see from Kamehameha Highway so no worries!

Favorite Places to Run – Ironman Marathon Route

Photo by Chris McCormack / CC BY

On our vacation to the Big Island, I was stoked (excited) about where the fam (family) and I were staying. Ali’i Drive (dramatic pause). Yes, Ali’i Drive. The same road that is part of the marathon course for the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

This is the hill I died on!

The first morning, I was out the door at 6am. Unfortunately, I didn’t research the marathon route and ran in the wrong direction! After a mile, there was this huge hill that I died trying to climb. Actually, I made it to the top but had to slow to a walk a couple of times (or a few times).

Now, I did see a few runners/walkers and encountered many cyclists so at least I wasn’t alone in my agony! Later on, I finally did google the marathon course so I was ready to go the next morning. At the break of dawn, I was back out there. This time I was running in the right direction.

Bike lanes for runner & cyclists!

There are some great beaches and ocean views on Ali’i Drive. There were lots of runners (and lots of hotels and resorts) that gave me inspiration and some inner competition (racing against another runner without them knowing it).The road is very safe with bike lanes on both sides of the street. There will be some cyclists so stay focused on the road ahead of you. If you run far enough north, you will run into Historic Kailua Village which will be crowded with restaurants, shops, cars and people.

You can run around 5 1/2 miles, on Ali’i Drive, from the Kona Coast Resort (where I stayed) to the end of the road. You can’t really run on Ka’ahumanu Highway though I did see some cyclists, on the highway, outside of Kona and past the airport. So…if you want to run the entire marathon course, it is possible. On to the photos!!!

Kahalu’u Beach Park…duh!

Lots of vacation homes around here!

La’aloa (very sacred) Bay Beach Park!

Beautiful view of the coastline!

Roadside shrine!

Passing some resorts!

Another beach park?

A very small church and the southern turnaround point of the Ironman marathon!

Running on Kauai – Kauai Path…A Runner’s Paradise

kauai path

Kauai Path near Niu Street

Running on Kauai…Kauai Path is #1 of 53 things to do in Kapaa according to Trip Advisor. This beautiful multi-use path can be described as “Ke Ala Hele Makalae” which is Hawaiian for “The Path that Goes by the Coast.” The vision for Kauai Path, Inc. (a non-profit community organization) is for the trail to eventually follow the eastern shoreline for 17 miles from Nawiliwili to Anahola on the island of Kauai.

Kaui Path partially follows a former railroad line once used to haul the island’s sugarcane. The route offers access to parks, beaches along with all the shopping and restaurants of Old Town Kapaa. Along the path, you will encounter many informative signs sharing knowledge about important cultural and historical sites. You will also learn the native names different watercourses along plants and animals native to the area.

Presently, there are 7 miles of the path completed. Unfortunately, they are in two disconnected segments. The southern segment (phase 1) connects Lydgate Park to Wailua Beach Park and is 2.5 miles in length. The northern segment (phase 2) extends along the coast, for 4.5 miles, from Lihi Park, in Kapaa, to Ahihi Point in Kealia. There is a 2 mile gap between the two segments and the only to bridge this is by traveling on Kuhio Highway which is busy and has narrow shoulders (I won’t even run there).

Kaui Path is a multi-use trail and the following etiquette guildlines are in place so people can fully enjoy segment of Ke Ala Hele Makalae:

  • *Be Courteous—All path users should be respectful of other users regardless of their mode of travel, speed, or skill level.
  • *Keep Path Clear—Use no more than one-half of the path when in a group. Move off of the path if you are stopped.
  • *Be Predictable—Travel in a consistent manner. Look behind you before changing position on the path.
    *Keep Right—Stay to the right side on the path except when passing. Move back or to the right once safely past.
    *Respect Private Property—Stay on designated paths or roadways. Avoid shortcutting switchbacks.
    *Signal When Passing—Give a clear warning signal by voice, bell, or horn before you pass.
    *Yield to Slower Traffic—Cyclists yield to pedestrians. “Wheels yield to Heels.”
    *Respect the ‘Aina & the Park—Keep litter in trash receptacles.

running dog

Dogs may be walked on Kauai Path, subject to the restrictions listed below:

*Dogs may be on the paved portion of the path plus six feet on either side.
*Handler must be in control of dog at all times
*Two dogs per handler max
*Must have poop bag in evidence.
*Dog owner must remove and dispose of dog’s feces
*Dog must be licensed
*Maximum leash length 6 ft. (No extendable leashes allowed.)
*Must leave path area if dog gets aggressive

kauai path

If it rains, there can be flooding on parts of the path.

My Experience Running on Kauai Path

I only ran on Phase 2, of Kauai Path, so I can only comment on that segment. Unfortunately, I didn’t even know Phase 1 existed until after my Kauai trip. The eastern coastline is just breathtakingly beautiful in the early morning. I started both runs at the break of dawn. If you run later in the morning, you will encounter lots of families on rental bikes.

My first run started off of Niu Street which is around .4 miles from Lihi Park; the beginning of Phase 2 of the path. I ran around 2 1/2 miles, just past Kealia Beach, before turning around.

For my second run, I parked at a lookout point between Kawaihau Road and Kealia Beach which around 1.6 miles north of the beginning of the path. I ran all the way to the end (2 1/2 miles), where it became a dirt trail, turned around and returned to my starting point.

kauai path

End of Kauai Path and the beginning of a hiking or mountain bike trail.

I Love to Run At – Lagoon Drive, Oahu

keehi lagoonI love to run at…Lagoon Drive, Oahu. On Lagoon Drive, between Ke’ehi Lagoon Park and the end of the road is a nice, flat 2 mile up and back course. There is a small parking lot at the end of Lagoon Drive which is usually my starting point. There is approximately 1.5 miles of concrete/asphalt to run on. The last half-mile, to Ke’ehi Lagoon Park, is a mixture of grass, dirt and gravel. If traffic is light, I will run on the edge of the road.

This spot is popular with lots of runners, walkers and cyclists (even saw an inline skater once). Since I have cranky knees, I try to run on the road until the concrete sidewalk becomes an asphalt path. The area feels safe with all us athletes gettin’ our workout. Sheriffs are frequently on patrol since Lagoon Drive is right next to Honolulu International Airport.
lagoonI’ve heard that Ke’ehi Lagoon Park was once beautiful and well maintained. The facilities need to be upgraded and are badly in need of maintenance. There are plenty of sporting events going on with tennis, softball, canoe racing and cricket being a few of them. There is also a homeless element and they seem to camp out at the bathrooms. Across the Nimitz Highway, there are more homeless encampments.

I’ve run on Lagoon Drive at dawn, during the day (hot!) and at sunset (even in the dark!). You have a nice view of the ocean and since the airport is next door, there are plenty of planes taking off and landing. Just beyond the parking lot, at the end of the road, you can stand (I’ve brought chairs before!) and watch the planes taking off from the Reef Runway. My son loves planespotting so sometimes I come and don’t even run!
lagoon