About a month ago, I wrote a post about how virtual races are not the same as in-person races. Here’s what I wrote:

Obviously I have no plans to run any virtual events this year other than the GVRAT which I don’t consider to be in the same category as single-day events. I don’t see much value in spending a fairly significant amount of money to get a medal for running just another long Sunday run in my own city, on sidewalks with traffic lights and all the other things that a “real” race takes such great pains to eliminate.ME, MARCH 1, 2021.

Guess what I did a couple of days ago? Yep. I signed up for the 2021 BMO Vancouver Marathon virtual race. Why the change of heart and change of plans? There’s a few things at play.

Turning 50

I’m turning 50 this year and that’s a big milestone. When I turned 40 in 2011, I traveled out to Vancouver and ran the BMO Vancouver Marathon on my actual 40th birthday. It was a great way to celebrate the day and to prove to myself that age was just a number.

Since 2011, I’ve returned to Vancouver for five more races, including four marathons and one half marathon. It’s where I go to celebrate things like coming back from a serious bike crash, or to just get away from things here in a city that I love.

For the last couple of years, I figured I would run the 2021 BMO Vancouver Marathon to celebrate turning 50. But the pandemic has made a mess of basically all of our plans for more than a year now and running Vancouver in person in May is out of the question.

Taking What I Can Get

I still felt drawn to the race and to the idea of celebrating my 50th with a marathon. I have a separate goal to run 50km in a single run this year, but that’s for later in the year I think. The virtual race will have to do as a stand-in for running in Vancouver. It’s pretty clear to me that we probably won’t have a chance to run an in-person race until late fall at the earliest so I might as well run this in May and earn another medal and pretend it’s the run I had planned.

As a bonus, virtual runners from 2021 get early-bird access in 2022 and running in Vancouver next year is something I would most definitely put on my post-pandemic bucket list.

May 30

Right now I’m targeting May 30 to do my run. I don’t have a route mapped out yet and I’m a bit torn as to whether to do something flat or whether to try to recreate the BMO Vancouver Marathon course as best as I can in Toronto.

The training gets real tomorrow with close to 30km planned. From there it’s longer Sunday runs and before I know it, a 42.2km run awaits.