2020 – The Year of the Virtual Race

There is no doubt that 2020 has been quite a year. The year started out the same as usual and I set my usual goals and intentions for the year. I signed up for a handful of races around Pittsburgh because I decided that I finally wanted to break into the Pittsburgh race scene now that we had finally settled in. Unfortunately, all of the races I signed up for ended up being virtual. 2020 became the year of the virtual race!

After it was announced that the Pittsburgh Half Marathon would be virtual, I continued to train for it and completed it virtually on race weekend. This was my first postpartum half marathon and my 5th half marathon overall. It was my slowest half marathon to date, but I was proud to finish it after losing so much fitness during and after the pregnancy. I missed the crowd but it was still a good experience.

Something I was really excited about this year was that I signed up for the Steel Challenge! The Steel Challenge consists of participating in the 5k on Saturday and the Half Marathon on Sunday, and as a result, you earn 3 medals! I was able to do the two races virtually. I plan to sign up for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon again in 2021 and I I hope that they’re able to be held in person!

Pittsburgh Half Marathon

I also completed the 2020 Pittsburgh Pirates Home Run 5K virtually. I was really excited about this race. It was supposed to take place on the North Shore and the finish line was supposed to be on home plate at PNC Park! Then there were supposed to be food trucks after the race. Of course, this race ended up being virtual too, so I guess I’ll have to wait until next year (hopefully!) to get the full race experience! I ran the race at home and got the cute medal below.

2020 Pittsburgh Pirates Home Run 5K

I took a break from running virtual races in the summer and just enjoyed running with no big goals in mind. I kept up with my runs and ran 3-4 times per week. It was fun to do my runs just to help support my mental health without a big goal.

In the fall, I decided to sign up for the Pittsburgh Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day. I have run this race multiple times before and I always really enjoy it. I ran it last year and had a blast. The Turkey Trot is one of my favorite races and I love getting up early on Thanksgiving to run the race before the big meal! I made a point to run this 5k in the morning of Thanksgiving so it still felt like the same tradition!

UPMC Health Plan PGH Turkey Trot 5k

This concludes the year of the virtual race! I never expected that I would participate in so many virtual races, but 2020 has taught me to adapt! I really hope that in 2021 races start to be held in person again, but we will see! Regardless, I’m thankful for a successful year of running. I have enjoyed every minute of all my runs and races.

Here’s to another successful and fun race year in 2021!

  • How did your year of races go?
  • What are you looking forward to in 2021?


  1. It was definitely a strange year of running! Glad you were able to make the best of it with all those virtual races.

  2. It was certainly a crazy year for everything including running! I am kind of over the virtual and really looking forward to real races again.

  3. I didn’t take on too many virtuals, because I was still recovering from my broken leg and surgery. Boo. We did get to take part in a few actual races at the end of this year, and I am grateful for that. Hoping to see some normalcy soon.

    1. Yes, I couldn’t agree more! Hoping that in 2021 things will start to eventually go back to normal!

  4. Wow, that’s a lot of virtuals, Lauren!
    I hope that you will get to run some in-person races next year. I think that’s something we are all looking forward to!
    A happy new year!

    1. Yes, definitely! I hope so too! Happy New Year to you too!

  5. I also never thought I’d ever do as many virtual challenges as I did. But even though I enjoyed them, I must say, I hope 2021 brings in-person races back! But if we don’t have to many of those, I will explore different kinds of goals – thinking of a year mileage one. We will see! Wishing you a great new year!

    1. Yes, I do hope we have some in-person races as well. And if not, we’ll get creative again! Thanks Shathiso! I hope you have a great new year too!

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