JUST AROUND sunrise, I snap on a fuel and hydration belt, decide against compression sleeves, and double-knot my laces before stepping outside. The air is crisp and cool. It is perfect for race day. I inhale deeply to calm the jitters.
But this race is different—no bag check, porta-potty crowds, or even a start line, for that matter. That’s because I am running my first virtual race—a 20K. There’s no entry fee, and finishers enter a raffle for a new GPS watch. I have mapped out a 12.4-mile route that takes me along the East River and under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, in my neighborhood in Brooklyn, yet I am racing against people from all over the globe. I think about them when I glance down at my tracker. The challenge is organized by Strava, and the leaderboards are constantly updated, so when I set out, I know the top finishing … Read the rest