Winter Virtual Challenge

At worst, this winter can been long, dark, cold, and lonely…and there’s still a month left. We don’t have anything to offer through events or programming indefinitely, so we’re back with another virtual challenge series for late Winter 2021.

This is 2 virtual races and 21 mini activities can give you motivation, regardless of your fitness level. Whether you’re looking for inspiration to start running, to an avid runner looking for something to shake up your routine, this is for you.

Sign up for the Winter Virtual Challenge

The program is $40 and includes a spinning snowflake medal, available in Waterloo or mailed anywhere in Ontario for free. If times are hard on you, we understand, and you can save 52% (save $21) with promo code HIGHFIVE, no questions asked.

This is a fundraiser for Run Waterloo operating costs, and 2020 RW members save 20%.

2 virtual races

  • Benchmark 5k – find a 5k route. Complete once in February at your current easy fitness level, and once in April (in spring) at a level appropriate to your goals. Submit your your time, and then re-submit if your second run is faster.
  • Re Fridgee Eighter. A simple virtual race March 12-19. 3k or 8k. Complete on a looped course at your convenience. GPS file must read at least 8.10km or 3.05km.

21 mini challenges

Just For Fun challenges

  • ART – use your GPS to create a fun route. Doesn’t have to be a masterpiece, just plan a fun design. 
  • JAMS – create a brand new running playlist for winter 2021.
  • HONKS – go for a run in a busy area in a goofy costume or loud outfit. Get ready for honks and to wave to cars!
  • SELFIE – something creative pre-, during-, or post-run
  • AGE – If you’re 48 and won’t run 48k, split it into multiple runs that add to 48, or run 4.8k or 10.48k. However you can fit your precise age in there.

Social challenges

  • SAY “HI!” – post in the WVC facebook event, introduce yourself.
  • COURIER – run to 3+ houses to deliver positive notes (friends, neighbours, or whoever you think is appropriate, could even be random notes of kindness)
  • APPRECIATION – thank someone who has helped you in your running career (doesn’t have to be someone you talk to on the regular)
  • BUDDY UP – find a way to run safely with someone. Could be someone in your household, or meet a friend for a well-distanced run.
  • MAKE PLANS – reach out to someone new: a new group of runners, potential running buddy, new coach – and make plans for safe future times

Mental challenges

  • THE HILL – tackle the particular hill or a notably difficult route in your area (doesn’t have to be new to you, just challenging)
  • TAKE 5 – run in or to a natural area and take a quiet 5 minute break during the run before continuing (enjoy the sights and sounds)
  • MEMORY – plan out a more complicated route than you’re used to, and learn the turns. Use google satellite and street views, and then execute the plan without a phone.
  • “ARE YOU CRAZY?” – outdoor run in shorts (on a day slightly colder than your limit)
  • ROUTINE BREAKER – Change up your routine. Go for a run at a time you normally don’t – either wake up early, go for a night run, during lunch, or go for two runs in one day. Whatever shakes up your schedule!
  • I SPY – Create a fun game for yourself for during a run. Maybe count red cars vs. blue cars, or turn left every time you see a dog and right every time you see a mailbox.

Performance challenges

  • WORKOUT – for example, 3x3min at a moderate pace, on 2 minutes rest. You can change any of the variables to make it the right level of challenge for you.
  • STRETCH GOAL – take on a challenging distance or total time, eg. first run at 10k. (within your limits – don’t do anything crazy)
  • MILEAGE PLAN – look ahead to March and April 2021, and see how your exercise plan looks. Can you find any opportunities or improvements?
  • BRANCH OUT – Start to research some ways to incorporate a new dimension to your training. What can you do in your own space – strength routine?
  • DREAM ON – think up an ambitious race goal for the future. Maybe it’s a challenging race you’ve never done, or for a race you’ve finished before, set a solid new race race goal.

In all, there are 2 races, 14 activity challenges, and 7 non-activity challenges. You can double up some, but there is no criteria for how many activities or races you need to do. You are even welcome to participate for free by using the suggestions and engaging with the facebook community. Medals will be available for every signup, and the only thing you would need to submit are the results for the two races.

The medals will be available on or about March 19 at Runners’ Choice in Waterloo, Ontario, and then mailed out to those who selected that option, for free. A well-deserved winter trophy.

Join the facebook event, and print off your checklist (below). Have fun with this – all of the activities are intended to be customizable to your level. Don’t go crazy trying to meet anyone’s expectations except your own.


  • John February 19, 2021 5:07 pm

    I’m interested in participating in the Winter Virtual Challenge but is it possible to do so without having a Facebook account?

    • runwaterloo February 19, 2021 7:20 pm

      Absolutely. A lot of the public social interaction will happen on the network, but you can definitely do it without that, and also in your own non-Facebook community!

      • John Palmer February 25, 2021 5:59 pm

        Great. Today I received confirmation of my registration from Race Roster after which I went for an age incorporated distance run. But now I don’t see any way that a non-Facebook user can actually check off this or any of the other Winter Challenge activities.
        Also, will Race Roster be providing links in April for the two virtual races?

        • runwaterloo February 25, 2021 10:41 pm

          You will see them in Race Roster, and you don’t need to confirm any of the activities.

  • Jill Malleck February 22, 2021 2:13 pm

    This looks great, so many fun ideas! I’m going to sign up. I’m not on FaceBook but will “see” you on twitter, and here.

    • runwaterloo February 22, 2021 9:02 pm

      Great! Have fun and keep us in the loop!!

Comments are closed.