Nine ways to use a virtual race to promote company fitness

From doing step challenges, you already know that people stretch further when challenged to compete day-to-day with their colleagues on a simple goal like total steps/day.

As the step totals rise week by week, staff push to keep pace with… or pass… their peers. Everyone benefits from the competition.

The same motivational dynamics are multiplied when companies add extra “racing” layers, for example by  tracking individual or team progress on a map, and by sending daily text reminders about exercising to participants. Here’s a quick list of how a virtual race benefits company fitness.

  1. Motivation. As research has shown repeatedly, virtual races manage to motivate both confirmed athletes like David Rubush and Steph Bryant, and reforming couch potatoes.
  2. Exotic locations. Virtual racers can have fun visitting the Moon, Paris, Vegas… or any route you want to build! (Check out the fun and motivation generated by this virtual race we custom built in China!)
  3. Fun bling. Virtual races feature digital bibs, postcards and finish awards, all prime for boasting about on social media.
  4. Simplicity. Even though a virtual race offers far more features than a step challenge, it’s far easier to use, both for participants and HR staff.
  5. Unity. Whereever your staff are located, they’re all united on the same virtual route.
  6. Inclusiveness. Because virtual races are flexible, it’s easy to include people using wheelchairs, or swimming or lifting.
  7. Community. Doing a virtual race add social components — comments, hashtags, emojiis and photo sharing — to make the race more social and inspire more chatter around the water cool or Slack channel. Running with others inspires us to run further.
  8. Accountability. Knowing others are watching can have a huge positive impact on adherence to fitness plans. Virtual races make accountability easy and fun.
  9. Upgrading. As opposed to the spreadsheet or other software your company tinkers with annually to manage its step challenges, a hosted virtual race is always getting better. Racery is constantly adding new features to boost motivation and fitness enjoyment. 
  10. (A bonus!!!) No hassles. The best thing about a virtual race — other than all the motivation — is the lack of hassles. Compare this with the horrible burdens of organizing a full marathon, not least the porta potties!

Obviously, much is at stake. Huge economic and psychic benefits flow from changing a staffer’s view that wellness is a product consumed annually at the doctor’s office to a belief that wellness is a lifestyle practiced daily in small choices and habits.