The world’s first ever virtual 5k was recently streamed live from Miami on September 17th. The 5k to date has raised almost half a million dollars for the Miami Children’s Health Foundation and was sponsored by Youfit Health Clubs. While this was the 6th annual race it was first year, and first ever 5k, to have a virtual stream.
Participants at over 100 Youfit locations across the country were able to participate in the 5k. At select locations participants were able to walk, jog or run virtually in the race. Each treadmill was synced with an iPad that streamed three different pace setters views, at either a walking, jogging or running speed. The pacesetters either cycled or pushed a stroller with an iPhone to maintain a clear and steady video stream. The iPads also simultaneously tracked and compiled participants speed. This allowed runners to view and compete against a live leaderboard to compete with other virtual participants across the country.
Even though participants weren’t at the event to partake in the normal pre race festivities Youfit still delivered a race atmosphere. Each participant even wore a race bib that featured the name of a pediatric patient supported by the Miami Children’s Health Foundation being treated at the Nicklaus Children’s hospital. Prior to the race a live Zumba dance warm-up was streamed to hype participants. Then the normally quiet solitary rows of treadmills were transformed into a lively race atmosphere. Personal trainers and Youfit team members were there to cheer on participants as they ran through the virtual finish line.
The race was a huge milestone in virtual reality fitness. We’re sure to see a huge uptick in the amount of virtual 5Ks due to the relative ease and simplicity of the platform. It’s likely this technology will be used recreationally in the future to for runners to share trails and get connected.
For more information on the race or to donate to the Miami Children’s Health Foundation please see here. You can also see additional photos and videos of the race here or by searching social media for #YoufitVirtual5k