Solo runner Latria Graham battles self-doubt in an alternate reality with help of community-based virtual running races

Having thousands of people simultaneously participating in photorealistic 3D simulations is no longer a far-fetched theory dreamt up by the producers of the 1999 Sci-Fi classic The Matrix.

The world of virtual running leaps ahead of VR technology by offering themed online races that tap into an individual’s creativity and dreams. Not only do virtual running races connect thousands of runners across the globe, individuals are no longer limited by geographical bounds to make their running experience more exciting and motivating.

In a recent human interest story on ESPNW, Latria Graham outlines how she used virtual races to create an alternate reality while running, which helped her power through workouts and convert solitary runs into a way to battle self-doubt.

For Graham, the key was joining themed virtual running races that were “the perfect combination of nerd culture and running community.”  She participated in these races through running groups on Facebook, one of which was the Hogwarts Running Club (HRC).

For each of her 5AM morning runs, Graham mentally morphs her neighborhood landscape into the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry while dotting a parallel between battling the dark forces of evil and the nuances of running, like soreness and shortness of breath.

“I don’t have to be fast — I just have to finish,” she tells herself on these runs.

Looking back, Graham recollects that running is not an activity that she ever thought she wouldHogwarts Running Club - Virtual Running Race - Announcement Placard do. “I abhorred physical exercise as a child.” She tried numerous fitness gadgets and apps, but battling insecurities as a beginner runner meant no community support — this stomped her will to keep going and fueled a sedentary lifestyle.

With the Hogwarts Running Club, Graham let her imagination take flight and turned running into a habit. “I liked the idea that the money I spent fueling my running habit also had a larger purpose,” says Graham. HRC is known for donating proceeds from its virtual races to charitable organizations.

(Check out our customer highlight story of how Hogwarts Running Club used Racery’s virtual races to raise over $56K in two weeks).

Ready to let your own imagination fly? Create your own custom virtual running race in just a few clicks.