BEFORE COVID-19 came along, there would be a few big running events or marathons held around the country, either for a charity, raise awareness, or even just to keep up a healthy lifestyle.
As businesses had to evolve, adapt and transform for the sake of survival during the trying times of the pandemic, most other events that involves physical participation had to follow suit as well.
In recent months, announcements of virtual run could be seen almost everywhere, attracting a diverse type of audience and participants to join in the event. It goes to show that even a global pandemic could not stop people from staying healthy.
The only difference is that they are done in a safer and more controlled environment due to the movement control order (MCO).
“Although virtual runs do not evoke the same sense of community as one would find in physical runs, virtual runs could still incentivise participants to stay fit and active even with movement restrictions being in effect,” said JomRun CEO Chang Yi Hern.
Similar to a physical run, virtual runs would also involve keeping track of the distance covered and the participants will still receive goodies as a reward.
“When you join a virtual run, you are actually committing yourself to complete a set mileage within a specific timeframe (eg. 21km in 30 days). When you complete your virtual run, the rewards and entitlements will be sent directly to your doorstep, which include finisher shirts, medals, goodies, sling bags and many more,” Chang added.
“Even when strict MCO rules were enforced, our users would still walk around their house or their gardens to accumulate mileage to complete virtual runs.”
Being one of the biggest sports ticketing portal in the country, JomRun hosted over 1,000 sports events (more than 100 of them are virtual runs) throughout the nation and have attracted over 100,000 people to join its virtual run events since the movement control order first started in March.
“Since May 2020, we have imposed tighter regulations for sports events organisers to sell physical event tickets on our app because there really is no indication as to when mass participation sports events are coming back,” he elaborated.
“To protect our users, we have only allowed reputable organisers with valid permits to sell tickets on our app.”
However, things have not been easy as the pandemic still managed to significantly dampen the number of participants for JomRun’s events. But Chang is determined to weather the hurdle.
“The number of participants for virtual runs is definitely not comparable to physical runs. However, since virtual runs enable participants to adhere to social distancing rules and keep up their fitness routines at the same time, we do not think that COVID-19 cases have a direct correlation to participation numbers,” he said.
When asked if the trend of virtual runs will stay even in the post-COVID-19 era, Chang said: “Yes, I believe that virtual runs will definitely still stick around after the pandemic eases. Virtual runs tend to attract participants who are either busy with their careers or hail from smaller towns because it is difficult for them to commit their time to join a physical run easily.” – Nov 2, 2020