What’s the ideal lead time for announcing a virtual race?

We frequently get questions about best practices for virtual races.

One question is particularly common: how much lead time is needed between announcing a virtual race and actually starting the race?

A virtual race's starting line can feel very real
A virtual race’s starting line can feel very real

That depends. At the one extreme, a group of tech-savvy athletes who know each other well and frequently communicate (with you or each other) may need just a day or two lead time.  Often this group has already done some kind of virtual race, even if it is just a step challenge recording mileage on a common spreadsheet.

On the other extreme is a group of people who don’t know each other at all, rarely or never communicate, aren’t excited by exercise, and aren’t Internet savvy. Frankly, this group may never be ready for a virtual race. 🙁

For groups somewhere in the middle, we recommend six to twelve weeks of lead time. That allows you to get the word out three to four times via email and social media, answer questions and recruit evangelists who will help create the excitement and momentum that makes a virtual race real.
To help test your company or group’s affinity for virtual racing, we’ve created a free test virtual race. Create a test race, then send the race URL to 20 people — colleagues, board members, favorite customers.

If fewer than 5 people sign up, our bet is that it will be hard to get a virtual race going… no matter what lead time you allow. If 5-10 people sign up, you’ll probably need 4-6 weeks.

If 15-20 people sign up, clearly your people are raring to go — ready to start a race in the next week or two! In which case, click right on over to our menu of prebuilt virtual races, including our newest, a Mount Everest Virtual Step Challenge!