New event offers the live competition aspect many runners will have been missing during lockdown

Although virtual ‘races’ are now frequent fixtures on the calendar, organisers of next month’s iRace Live Virtual 10km on July 5 hope to add the live competition ingredient many runners have been missing.

The free-to-enter socially-distanced event will see both elite and recreational runners all over the world waiting on their own individual start lines at the same time of 10am. Meanwhile, others will be able to watch the race unravel on an online leaderboard.

The ongoing pandemic restrictions have seen a rise in virtual events offering runners the chance to upload their times over a period of usually a few days. Now Inspire Races – the sister company of Chip Timing UK – are offering live events designed to more closely represent the racing experience.

They hope their flagship iRace Live Virtual 10km will attract some of the best from the UK and further afield, while stressing they are open to runners of all levels. Although registration is free, entrants will have the option to make a donation to NHS Charities Together.

Runners take part either by downloading an app for iPhone or Android and starting the location tracker, or by uploading their tracks from GPS-enabled watches. Those tracking themselves on their phone will appear on the live leaderboard and runners will also be able to see any motivational messages posted to them by supporters.

Participants will be encouraged to also use GPS watches, where possible, for better accuracy. Those choosing not to use the phone app can get their time by uploading their GPX, KML or TCX tracks.

Runners will be able to choose their own routes, carefully selected with social distancing and road safety in mind. Entrants are also advised to run alone to make distancing easier.

Times will be decided on elapsed time from the official start time of 10am, so runners will have to start the tracker before or exactly at that time. A “rolling” start is therefore permitted, but pausing the app tracker or your watch will not halt the race time. The results will show overall, age group and team positions.

Inspire Races director Toby Redington believes the format will appeal to runners of all abilities.

“We all hope there’ll be a return to normality before too long, but for now we’ve noted many runners are missing their fix of a Sunday morning race,” he says. “Virtual events have really sprung up, but the beauty about the iRace Live Virtual 10km is that everyone will be running at the same time. It’s as close as we’re going to get to head-to-head racing for a while.”

Those wishing to take part will register in advance, as with a normal race, at Entries close on July 4 at 5pm.

» For more on the latest athletics news, athletics events coverage and athletics updates, check out the AW homepage and our social media channels on TwitterFacebook and Instagram