How the heck do you do a Virtual Triathlon?!

May 20, 2020

Rules and Guidelines released for Why Racing Events Virtual Triathlon series.

Vancouver, WA The racing world has become accustomed to cancelled running races transitioning to virtual events. Why Racing Events, headquartered in the Northwest, has already had to produce three virtual events in their 2020 season. As the impact of COVID-19 has extended into the summer months, they recently learned that two of their Triathlon events would not be permitted and would need to transition to virtual.

Sherri McMillan, race director for Why Racing Events reports “It’s much easier to explain to athletes how to do a virtual running event. There are not as many logistics. Athletes just run the distance and record the time. In contrast, a Triathlon or any multisport event requires a great deal of planning and safety precautions that an athlete has to organize prior to their virtual race day.”

Once Why Racing Event announced that their upcoming Triathlon events, the PDX Triathlon Festival and the Pacific Crest Endurance Sports Festival, would be transitioning to virtual events, they received an onslaught of questions from athletes wanting to understand the rules, guidelines and logistics. McMillan continues “We decided to host a “How the Heck do you do a Virtual Triathlon” presentation online and created a summary to send to athletes to help them understand how to plan their virtual race day and all of the options they have when racing a multisport event virtually.”

Here is a link to the “How the Heck do you do a Virtual Triathlon” summary email which includes a link to the LIVE presentation.

Their guidelines included details such as:

  • Where to swim and how to do it safely
  • What to do if you don’t feel comfortable swimming due to lack of pool access and training
  • Where to bike and how to do it safely
  • Where to run and how to do it safely
  • How to do transitions and how much time would be allotted between each leg of the race
  • How to upload results for each leg of the race

“There are some perks to Virtual Events” says McMillan, “Athletes can participate from all over the world with no travel fees. Our last virtual event, we had athletes from 22 states and two countries participate so that’s a wonderful way to bring athletes together. Virtual athletes can also start their race whenever they want. No super, early morning start time if that’s not your thing! Athletes can also create the perfect race-day course and post-race festivities. They can celebrate with burgers and beer or pasta and wine. Virtual races can be customized to make it your perfect day!”

Although racing solo is not the same as the energy created on race morning when athletes are all racing together, Why Racing has taken extra measures to provide some normalcy to race day. McMillan explains “We have been hustling to do whatever we can to create a fabulous virtual experience for our athletes. We film creative and fun Pre-race announcements, post pre-race National Anthem, we produce clips of on-course scenery so athletes can experience the beauty of our courses, and even provide entertaining and comical cheering for our athletes. We have upgraded all of our SWAG so our athletes feel really taken care of and we all get together after the event for a Virtual Awards Ceremony and toast their accomplishments. We could have just canceled the race but that’s not how we roll. Athletes don’t quit, and we don’t cancel! Virtual is better than nothing!”

When asked if she prefers Virtual racing to the real thing, McMillan responds “Although Virtual racing will always be an option for our athletes, we cannot wait to get back to a Live, in-person event. We miss the energy and we miss our athletes, the volunteers, and our crew so much.”

About Why Racing Events:

Why Racing Events is a multi-sport event management organization that offers athletes of all ages and abilities, from the elite level to the back-of-the-packers, the chance to successfully complete a racing event. They host a series of 12 events every year from March to October throughout Washington and Oregon, including children’s races, fun runs, trail runs, half marathons, marathons, duathlons and triathlons. Their races vary in size from 1000 to 5000 participants. They are committed to providing a positive experience to everyone involved while raising awareness and funds for important community causes. Find out more information about Why Racing Events at www.whyracingevents.com


Contact Information

Sherri McMillan
Founder and CEO