Race Across America Wraps Up Its First Virtual Edition
July 7, 2020
12 Days In A Virtual World
Boulder, CO (July 7, 2020) – For the first time in 39 years Race Across America (RAAM) was not held. The same was true for the 12th edition of Race Across the West (RAW). The cancellation of RAAM & RAW this year prompted the concept of virtual versions of the race. The idea was proposed by a group out of Australia, including Anthony Gordon (Nothing But Shorts Films) and David Fell (Revolve24 Australia), and the RAAM home office joined in to help with the project.
The FulGaz platform was used to host the races in the virtual world. Both courses were extremely challenging and finish times and RAAM Qualifying times & distances had to be altered to accommodate some factors that were unknown prior to the races. The final VRAAM finishing distance was 2018 miles and the VRAW finishing distance was 950 miles.
VRAAM had nine finishers out of 17 total races. One racer, and overall winner, Hirokazu Suzuki (JAP), rode the entire course (2822 miles) within the 12 day limit. Suzuki held the lead for a vast majority f the race. The podium rouded out as follows – 2. Lee Putnam (UK); 3. Bharat Pannu (IND); and, Marcelo Soares (BRA). The top racers changed positions throughout the entire race and fought hard to keep their final slots.
VRAW proved to be a very competitive race through to the end. RAAM veteran, Marko Baloh (SLO), led the race most of the way until an injury took him out of contention. Baloh’s departure opened the door for several racers to take the top spot. In the end, Simon Potter (UK), took the win by just a few hours. The podium finished out ass follows – 2. Phil Fox (USA); 3. Tucker Sorrell (UK). The top female, Joanna Sharpe (NZ) finished fourth overall. The women’s podium was as follows – 2. Ginger Howell (USA); 3. Sabine Bird (AUS). VRAW was competitive from the start to finish. Of the 83 total races, 61 finished and 19 qualified for RAAM.
For Complete Results: http://www.revolve24.com/events/virtual-race-across-america
The races filled a void in racing schedules and the hole left in the ultra-bicycle racing annual tradition. Overall the races were a success. Gaining media coverage from National TV, radio, global cycling sites, podcasts, live interviews and blogs, the indicative reach that was achieved was millions of potential viewers. Social media reach was maximized with the collaboration of VRAAM, SBS Cycling Central, Rupert Guinness, Race Across America, Revolve24 UK and Revolve24 Australia. Across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and, the VRAAM story reached a worldwide audience. The estimated daily impressions reached into the millions and daily engagement of nearly one million. This was well beyond any anticipated media numbers.
“As a whole we couldn’t be more excited about the outcomes for the race. The racer participation, the competition and the media numbers were above and beyond what we could have expected. There were certainly bumps if the road, but we learned a lot and the staff at FulGaz and in Australia kept everything moving forward. It allowed us to keep some attention on the races in a year they were cancelled. We look forward to bringing some other virtual ultra-races to the public”, sais Rick Boethling, executive director Race Across America.