Virtual Nerd Runs: Where Charity Meets Nerdery

I love to run and I am particularly thrilled that the Dude also has an affinity for it as well. There's something about being able to head off into the woods for a trail run with my little man, chatting and enjoying the view, stopping when we feel like it and setting longer and longer distance goals each year.

Last year, he did his first official race: bib, medal and all. It was a really fun experience and he was begging me to find another event to do together this year. Unfortunately, late registration for most Fall events around Ottawa seems to be rather expensive for just a fun outing between the two of us, so I went online to figure out some other options.

That's when I discovered Virtual Nerd Runs.

No, a virtual run is not a run you do from your couch or using a VR headset. A virtual run is a race that you do whenever your heart (and schedule) permits. You register online and get a bib and medal, just as you would for an in-person event, but you can complete the challenge wherever and whenever you like. And the registration fees go to charity. Here's how VNR creator Joe Rivard explains it on the VNR site:
...while pondering which race to complete next and how to be more creative in his fundraising, a idea was brought to his attention to conduct online virtual race fundraisers. Not only would this raise money for a cause that had become so dear to his heart, it would reach outside of his hometown barrier. Each race allows participants to not only run for a cause wherever their location is in this world. In return, the runners receive a race medal (or as we call it “bling”) for their support and efforts.
And not just any bling. NERD bling.

This is the medal the Dude and I are running for:

Han Solo in Carbonite Virtual Nerd Run Medal
Han Solo in Carbonite!!! Officially the most amazing running medal I think I will ever earn. Ever.

There are a whole bunch of Nerd Races with different distances and bling for all types of nerds. The medals include: He-Man and She-Ra, Shark Week, Beavis and Butthead, the DeathStar, and more. They even sell races in bundles so you can earn a couple of co-themed medals.

I mean, if you're already planning to go out for a run, why not help raise money for charity and earn a unique piece of nerd street cred while you're at it?