Why we need more events like Ginger Runner Virtual Run #GRVR16

A bunch of people around the world ran for two hours on the same day. And it was brilliant.

If you’ve ever Googled for video reviews of running shoes, you’ve almost definitely landed on a review by The Ginger Runner, Ethan Newberry. For a long time, that was all I knew him for and I bought several pairs after confirming that he liked them. Then I discovered Ginger Runner Live, where he does long interviews with ultra runners live on YouTube. These are my goto podcasts whilst running slowly, along with Bad Boys Running, The Ultra Runner Podcast and Adam Buxton (who may not be a runner :-) ).

A few months back Ethan announced The Ginger Runner Virtual Run. On Nov 19th, all entrants had to run for exactly two hours anywhere in the world and upload their GPS trace to Strava. There was lots of swag and a variety of prizes. I just loved the idea of a virtual community all doing the same thing on the same day.

long strand from top of hill

So yesterday I headed out with the car thermometer at 0C and drove to the back of Long Strand. I then spent 2 hours running around Castlefreke Woods, Rathbarry, over to Owenahincha and on to Long Strand itself. It start badly with me wading through 6 inches of water on a flooded trail but I soon warmed up. The rain that followed was not welcome but I didn’t mind it at all. And you know what? It was bloody great! I moved at an even slower than my usual sloth pace and took videos and pictures and talked to a donkey and said hello to lots of walkers and some other runners.

By the end I was tired and wet and smiling from ear to ear.

Since then I have been looking through all of the pictures, videos, tweets and Facebook comments from others who took part. Like many running events, it has every type of runner, from blobs like me to ledgebags like Jamil Coury.


Of course this is a commercial endeavour for Ethan, but he deserves every penny he makes from it. He puts enormous effort into his running films and all of the Ginger Runner media and it’s only fair that those of us who benefit from his work/art should give something back, not just via ad eyeballs and affiliate links.

I hope the success of this encourages people in other fields to do something similar. As I said on Twitter, community is about shared interests, not just physical proximity. For all the brutal flaws of social media, particularly recently, Ethan has shown how it can bring groups of us closer together, even if just for a few damp hours.

PS: I was massively impressed with how quickly the Altra Lone Peak 3.0 drained after I waded through that water. After 5 minutes I’d forgotten I’d been soaking. There was no squelching and my socks were just a bit damp at the end of the run.

PS 2: The Elephone Explorer Pro needs a power bank permanently connected to it if you want it to even be powered up for two hours, let alone recording. As you can see, it’s pretty poor quality video but probably good enough for me for the moment. I’m mightily tempted by that new Garmin Virb tho.

Conor O'Neill

Tech guy who likes running slowly

Bandon, Cork, Ireland http://conoroneill.com