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A guide to upcoming virtual races and challenges

Since it looks like virtual racing could still be our best option for the next few months, here's a list of upcoming events

Throughout the pandemic, virtual races have given runners around the globe many opportunities to test their fitness and fuel their need for competition while in-person events are on hold. While the promise of vaccines gives us hope that we can return to mass participation races soon, many in-person races could end up closing their doors permanently as a result of the pandemic. All races are threatened, and for many of them, virtual races are the only thing keeping them alive as the pandemic stretches into 2021. We’ll update this list regularly, so even if nothing catches your eye right now, check back at a later date for any new additions.

Don’t Fear the Sweeper

When? July 1-31

What? Runners have the chance to race one of Canada’s best ultrarunners, Terri Biloski, in a month-long virtual challenge. Each day you log your kilometres, and if at the end of the day Biloski hasn’t caught you, you live to run another day.

How much? $10, all of which goes to charity.

Event website here

Solution Project Virtual Race

When? July 17-18

What? A 5-kilometre virtual run in which participants raise funds for the Solution Project, which partner with organizations focusing on Climate Change issues, R&D medical issues, Ocean Clean Up projects, Nature preservation, Gender Equality, Tree reforestation, Cancer research, Child Trafficking, Cultural & Mental Health awareness, Global medical assistance and LGBTQE issues.

How much? $25 dollar donation

Event website here

The Big Canada Run

When? July 1 2021 to June 30 2022

What? Teams sign up to virtually run across Canada, with three different route options ranging from 8,000Km to 18,000Km.

How much? Registration starts at $60 until prices jump after June 1


Challenge Alberta

When? From May 30 to August 31

What? teams will challenge themselves to run, walk or cycle a total distance of 1,717 kms starting from the southern border of Alberta at Waterton Lakes National Park finishing at the northern border of the Northwest Territories. Along the way participants will learn about Alberta’s vast geographical, cultural, and economic points of interest. Participation is open to campus and community members (ages 18+).

How much? $55 dollars (Use promo code UACC21 to save 15%)

Event website here

Le Défi STM

When? June 1-30

What? Participants are invited to run or walk the entire length of the Montreal subway system for a total of 66Km.

How much? There is a $30 option or a $50 option

Event website here


The Sporting Life 10K

When? May 9-30

What? Run your own 10K race, or participate in the Virtual Challenge by running or walking 10K ten times between May 9 and May 30.

How Much? $60 + HST

Event website here


The Arc’Teryx Warm-up Challenge

When? May 3-9

What? Participants are invited to complete one of the Strava Walk, Run or Hike Routes, available on the app and created by local Arc’teryx Ambassadors. Participants who complete a route will receive a gift bag, which are available on a first-come, first-serve basis at participating Arc’teryx stores.

How much? Free

Event website here

Photo: Arc’Teryx

The Arc’Teryx Global Outer Peace Challenge

When? May 17-June 6

What? Participants are invited to spend 20 minutes a day doing any outdoor activity, 4 times a week over 3 weeks. Participants who complete the challenge will receive a promotion code to be used online or in-store at participating Arc’Teryx locations.

How much? Free

Event website here

Photo: Arc’Teryx

The Woof Walk Challenge

When? Now until December 31, 2021

What? A challenge you can do with your pup! You choose your distance goal, and try to complete it by the end of the year. There are options for dog-owners and those without a canine family member, and funds raised will go to two important charities: Save Our Scruff and Second Harvest Food Rescue.

How much? $55 until August 31

Event website here


The Million Reasons Run

When? May 1-31 2021

What? You choose your running and fundraising goals and run wherever, however you like. Funds raised will go to life-saving research happening at the 13 children’s hospitals across Canada.

How much? This event it completely free!

Event website here


Run Guides Tokyo – Osaka Challenge Virtual Team Challenge

When? Start anytime after March 13, there is no cutoff

What? Teams of four attempt to virtually run from Tokyo to Osaka, Japan (672 km)

How much? $60 USD per team

Event website here


Move Your Paws for the Polar Bear Cause

When? February 27 to March 29

What? Participants aim to collectively run 3,000K

How much? More info to come (registration opens January 12)

Challenge website here

Virtual Chilly Half Marathon

When? Until March 30

What? Frosty 5K, Frigid 10K and Chill Half Marathon. (Each distance will have a walking category.)

How much? $65 (5K and 10K) and $90 (half-marathon)

Race website here

2021 B.A.A. 5K

When? April 16 to 18

What? The 5K run that traditionally kicks off the Boston Marathon weekend will be held virtually for the second year in a row.

How much? $45 to $65 USD, depending on the package the participant chooses.

Race website here


The Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee 

When? May 1 to August 31

What? Virtually run 1,000 kilometres “across” Tennessee

How much? US$60

Race website here

Photo: Google Maps

Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend

When? May 1 to May 31

What? 2K, 5K, 10K, half-marathon, marathon, 50K and more

Along with all your favourite distances, this year’s offerings include the Ottawa Ultra 50K, an Ottawa 2K family pack for 4, and a special TEAM edition of the Bytown Challenge in support of The Ottawa Hospital!

How much? Price varies depending on race selection

Race website here

Photo: Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend

The Survivorfest 24 Hour Race

When? June 12 to 13

What? Participants run for either sic, 12, or 24 hours around a 400 metre track. The race is being offered both in-person and virtually.

Race website here


MTU Showdown

When? Until June 30

What? Run 1,600 MTUs (to learn more about MTUs, click here)

How much? Free

Race website here


The 2021 RunNB Challenge 

When? Until December 31, 2021

What? Run, walk or snowshoe 1,200K (or 2,400K) to virtually circumnavigate New Brunswick

How much? $50

Race website here

Under Armour Spring Run-Off

When? April 1 to 30

What? Kids’ race, 5K and 8K

How much? More details to come

Race website here

Sarah Inglis wins the 2019 Spring Run-Off. Photo: Inge Johnson/Canada Running Series

Banque Scotia 21K de Montreal

When? April 23 to June 14

What? Kids’ race, 5K, 10K and half-marathon

How much? More details to come

Race website here

Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon 

When? June 2 to July 5

What? Kids’ race, 5K, 10K and half-marathon

How much? More details to come

Race website here

Reid Coolsaet Vancouver Half-Marathon
Reid Coolsaet winning the 2015 Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon. Photo Credit: Inge Johnson/Canada Running Series.

The 416 Challenge 

When? Until July 31

What? Run 416K by the end of July 2021

How much? $40 (student deal), $90 (regular fee)

Race website here

Vancouver Sun Run

When? April 18 to 30

What? 2.5K, 10K, team run

How much?$25 to $45

Race website here


Around the Bay

When? March 25 to April 25

What? 5K, 10K, 15K, 30K, two- and three-person relays

How much? More info to come

Race website here