Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run and Outside Interactive Announce Free Official 2020 Remote Participation Through a “Simulated” Race Day Experience
March 25, 2020
Free Race Day Course Simulation App Will Allow Treadmill Runners Around the World to Interactively See the Cherry Blossoms, Historic DC Landmarks and Cheering Spectators, “Feel” the Terrain and Even Break the Finisher’s Tape from Their Living Room
Washington, DC (March 25th, 2020) – Today it was announced that the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run has introduced Outside Interactive’s race day simulator technology for treadmill runners as an integral component of its free virtual race offering for this year’s cancelled race due to the Covid-19 virus, affecting events around the globe. The race had been scheduled for April 5, 2020. A brief sample of the ten-mile simulated race course can be viewed here.
“Like the rest of the world, the endurance event industry has been impacted by the global pandemic crisis,” said Gary McNamee, Outside Interactive president and founder. “Our country’s capital is no different. The Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run is known as ‘The Runner’s Rite of Spring’ in Washington, D.C. In addition to being a true test of fitness and an opportunity for so many to raise funds for The Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, the course, with its cherry blossoms in full bloom and D.C. landmarks in the backdrop, make it arguably one of the most beautiful race courses in the country. With our goal of ‘Bringing the Race to the Runner,’ we wanted to help,” said McNamee. “We are offering our course simulator application for free at this time to all participants of the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Run. If they have an iPad or Android tablet and a treadmill, they can experience the scenic course from anywhere in the world and take part officially as remote participants.”
Cherry Blossom Event Director Phil Stewart said, “We partnered with Outside Interactive a number of years ago and they produced a video tour of our course, which we have offered to participants as a way to prepare for the race or run the course on race day from their treadmill if they were unable to attend. We never envisioned that a global crisis would force us to cancel the race and provide a virtual run as the alternative. But once faced with that reality, knowing Outside Interactive had already prepared the video of our course gave us a powerful new option to help ease the disappointment of our 17,000 participants who could no longer take part in the event in person. We are offering our loyal participants an immersive and interactive connection. We are incredibly proud of our course, which passes by some of the most scenic and historic landmarks in the country. There is so much to see and take in, giving treadmill runners and walkers the chance to experience our course in a whole new way, which may also motivate them to participate in future live events.”
Through the use of state-of-the-art cameras, filming, and editing techniques, the Cherry Blossom simulated course video, shot from the runner’s point of view, is made interactive through Outside Interactive’s free downloadable app called “Virtual Runner,” available for iPad® and Android® tablets (no phones at this time). Designed for use with any treadmill, the Virtual Runner app allows for manual speed and incline adjustment to match pace and hills on the course. Compatible Bluetooth® enabled treadmills adjust video speed and incline automatically.
“It does take some upfront work to create a simulated race day production, but once this is done, we can bring that race day experience to the world and that is no small thing. We want race directors to see their race as a brand and not just a one-day event in one location,” said McNamee. “Everyone sees and feels the same thing in a shared experience no matter where they are in the world. Put another way, about 100,000 people attend the Super Bowl annually, but another hundred million people are at home in their living rooms watching it on television. Those hundred million people – they’re our audience.”
Simulated road races can also be adopted anywhere you can find a treadmill; and that ultimately includes health clubs.
“We see a lot of potential for health clubs to use Outside Interactive’s content as a way to engage their members by hosting organized race events where runners can compete on the simulated courses,” said Chris Clawson, CEO of Life Fitness, the global leader in commercial fitness equipment. “At Life Fitness, we are always looking at new ways to introduce on-demand content across our products and have had tremendous success with people engaging with our Life Fitness On Demand cardio classes and simulated course offerings. On-demand content is incredibly powerful, and Outside Interactive is providing exercisers with real course simulations that are both aspirational for people who want to build up to a specific goal and a training tool for elite runners.”
About the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile:
The Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile, organized by Cherry Blossom, Inc., a 501c(3) chapter of the Road Runners Club of America, is known as “The Runner’s Rite of Spring®” in the Nation’s Capital. The staging area for the event is on the Washington Monument Grounds and the course passes in sight of all of the major Washington, DC Memorials. The event serves as a fundraiser for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, a consortium of 170 premier children’s hospitals across North America. About one-third of the funds raised support Washington, DC’s own Children’s National (“Children’s Hospital”). The event also funds two $5,000 Road Runners Club of America “Roads Scholar” grants designed to support up-and-coming U.S. distance running talent.
The Credit Union Cherry Blossom Run is also part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, “America’s Greatest Springtime Celebration.”
Credit Union Miracle Day, Inc., a consortium of credit unions and credit union suppliers in partnership with CUNA Mutual Group, PCSU and CO-OP Financial Services, is the title sponsor of the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run, 5K Run-Walk and Kids’ Run. Presenting sponsors include ASICS, the official shoe and apparel sponsor; Garmin, the presenting technology sponsor; Gold’s Gym, presenting sponsor of the race pace groups; and Med Star Health, presenting sponsor of the Fall Kickoff Reception. Supporting sponsors include E-Trade, Gatorade, Honey Stinger, Mamma Lucia, Potomac River Running, Suburban Solutions and UPS.
The event is a proud member of the PRRO Circuit (PRRO.org), a series of major non-marathon prize money road races in Tampa, FL; Washington, DC; Spokane, WA; and Utica, NY. The circuit is committed to a drug-free sport and funds drug testing at all circuit events in compliance with the standards of international and U.S. drug testing authorities.
In addition to being sanctioned by USA Track & Field and the Road Runners Club of America, the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Run has earned Gold Level Inspire Certification from the Council for Responsible Sport in recognition of its legacy of commitment to sustainability and thoughtful resource management. To learn more, visit www.CherryBlossom.org and follow the event on social media @CUCB and #CUCB2020
About Outside Interactive
Outside Interactive is a Hopkinton, MA developer of Virtual Runner, a revolutionary patented simulator technology for cardio equipment, featuring famous racecourses, popular running routes and scenic destinations, all shot in HD from a runner’s point of view. Founded in 2011 by Gary McNamee, a lifelong Boston resident, avid runner and serial entrepreneur, Gary developed Virtual Runner after becoming bored on the treadmill and frustrated with not being able to train properly in New England’s unpredictable and often harsh weather. For more information, visit Outside Interactive