Welcome to a new feature of the new blog, virtual medal reviews. Before I begin, virtual running is a recent addition to the running world, first starting in the states then landing on these shores a few years back, since then loads of companies have seen there is a big demand for virtual runs, Some people do it as they don’t like big crowds, or do it for the bling, there are loads of reasons. I like medals and done a few virtual challenges over the years. Since 2016 I have been an ambassador for Awesome Virtual Running company but stepped down from the roll in August, as too much on in my life to commit to the role. Now I’m no longer racing I wanted to have some distractions to do over the coming winter months. So decided I’d start reviewing different virtual runs, the medals etc.
To kick things off I picked the NHS70 Virtual Run by a company called ‘Go Virtual Racing’, from the looks of their website this is their first actual challenge and not a bad way to introduce yourself by having this as an official event with the NHS.
The virtual run was set up in honour of the 70th birthday of the NHS. All they ask is for runners to complete 7 miles or 7 km, however they wanted or as fast or slow as they wanted. Submit proof and then the medal was sent in the post.
In honour of the 70th birthday of the NHS we are delighted to present the official NHS70 virtual run!
This not for profit event was the brainchild of the mighty #TeamLGT, a running group of over 100 Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust staff, of all abilities, and from all different NHS roles and backgrounds.
The running group started as part of Trusts’ staff health and wellbeing programme. The team have since gone on to take part in events all over the country and helped guide its beginners group from couch to 5k and on to half marathon distance.
We believe that activity is a great way to improve your general health and wellbeing, spend time with friends and family and be a great role model to colleagues and our families and thought that a virtual run would be a fantastic way to share this and raise vital funds for NHS Charities.
The NHS has touched millions of lives around the UK since it started in 1948 and this is a great way to show how much you appreciate it, and the people whose dedication make it so special.
NHS Charities Together will ensure that any funds raised will be distributed across the whole of the UK.
Will you join us to run or walk 7.0 kilometers or 7.0 miles to celebrate 70 wonderful years of the NHS?
Medals for this virtual run will be sent out from September 2018 onwards.
Sign up process
The website is very clean, mobile phone responsive and has a fast loading time. Plus the site isn’t covered in adverts or Google ads, I find all that very off putting. The site is setup like a store, so you select the amount of medals you want (so if there is a team of you, you can order together). The cost is £12 including postage and packaging. This seems to be the average rate for a virtual run at the moment. You are basically covering the cost of the medal and the rest going to NHS charities. Once added to your basket, you checkout, fill in your details and pay via paypal. Good thing is you can pay with a bank card if you don’t have a paypal account.
In all it took me less then 5 minutes from start to finish, to enter the virtual run. I then got my paypal purchase receipt email and my confirmation email shortly after. Next up was to do my run.
Completing the virtual run
All I had to do was complete the required distance, requirements were to either cover 7km or 7 miles I decided to do it last Friday. I had a 10 mile run to do so decided to use that run as evidence. Now for me neither distance is a challenge for me, so doing 10 miles meant I had put in some effort for my medal. Now trick is you need something to record your run on. You can down load plenty of apps to your phone should you not have a watch. For me I just used my trusty Garmin and uploaded my run to Strava after I had finished.
Submitting your evidence
So run complete, I now need to submit my evidence. So I re-visited the Go Virtual Racing website, the site has a dedicated page for evidence submission. You need to submit your evidence as a picture file, so best way to do that is a screen shot. Easy to do on phones these days and on laptop you press Ctrl + Print Screen. Then paste it to my photo editor and save it. I then uploaded it to the site, filled in my details along with my order number, this is my ID number and pressed submit.
Again this was a very easy and straight forward process, no issues downloading GPX files etc. Soon as I submitted my evidence, I received an email. As I ran over distance I took to Twitter to ask them if it was ok and they responded saying “well done, medal is in the post”.
So I had to sit back and wait for the postman. To my surprise it came Monday! So that was a bonus, it meant I could share photos of the medal on #medalmonday. The medal came with an A6 card and a letter. The card asks you to share photos of your medal on social media to be in with a chance of winning a pair of running shoes. The letter is a congratulations for completing the challenge and compared to what I’ve received in the past, was a nice extra touch.
The medal is 7cm in diameter in polished metal with two different designs on either face. One side has 70 years of the NHS in metal, with the wording raised on the medal with the 70 in blue. Around this the wording says “celebrating 70 years of the national health service” At the bottom 1948-2018. The other sides has the NHS70 logo on it. With the logo having blue and white to make the medal really stand out. The ribbon is white with the NHS70 logo on it. It is a really good quality medal and for £12 it would put some of the more expensive ones to shame.
If you are thinking of trying a virtual run for the first time then I would highly recommend doing this one. The whole process from ordering to submitting evidence and then finally getting your hand on a lovely medal is easy and painless. Plus they have a very good social media account that interacts with all their competitors. Plus the medal is quality and very impressed with it.
For £12 you could have a nice medal and help say happy birthday to the NHS.