“The thought of having 1,500 to 2,000 people in downtown Mill Valley for the start seemed to be against the interests of public safety,” race organizer Chris Knez told the Marin Independent Journal.
The race’s organizing committee first toyed with the idea of attempting a virtual Dipsea on race day, but has since pivoted to a virtual event that stretches over two months and provides three course options for participants, according to the Marin Independent Journal.
That event, which is open to anyone and free to enter, kicked off July 6 and runs through Sept. 6 and allows runners to choose one of three courses: the actual, 7.5-mile Dipsea course stretching from downtown Mill Valley to Stinson Beach, or any 10 miles on a flat course of their choosing or the same distance on a treadmill.
Runners will submit their results using a run tracker app and a list of participants and times will be available on the Dipsea website through the two-month window. The Dipsea Virtual Run will culminate with an online honor ceremony on Sept. 12, likely split between actual course runners and the 10 milers, the IJ reported.
Virtual races certainly weren’t supposed to be the most exciting competition for runners in the summer of 2020, the New York Times reported. Some runners have kept it simple, logging workouts and training plans in shareable Google documents or spreadsheets to stay in touch with their coaches. Other runners are using popular social fitness apps like MapMyRun and Strava, which saw a record 3.4 million downloads in May.
Facing the possibility of no in-person races this fall, race organizers are also using technology to motivate runners. In June, the New York Road Runners, the organization that hosts the annual New York City Marathon, canceled this fall’s marathon — and moved a version of it online. In October, marathon entrants will have a two-week window to run the 26.2 miles on their own and log the result on Strava as tracked by their phone or GPS watch. Times will be compiled on a N.Y.R.R. leaderboard.