Again, for 2021, the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run will offer Outside Interactive’s race day simulator technology for treadmill runners as an integral component of this year’s Virtual Run scheduled for March 20 through April 11. (The in-person race has been rescheduled to September 12, 2021 due to the Covid-19 virus, affecting events around the globe.) A brief sample of the ten-mile simulated race course, along with download instructions can be found here.
“In 2020, with endurance events around the globe cancelled due to the COVID 19 pandemic, virtual races became a lifeline, offering an alternative to outright cancellation,” stated Gary McNamee, Outside Interactive president and founder. “The Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run, with its cherry blossoms in full bloom and D.C. landmarks in the backdrop, make it arguably one of the most beautiful race courses in the country. We wanted to provide an alternative, bringing an exact race day simulation of this iconic course to participants around the globe. What better way to be part of the CUCB, also known as ‘the Runner’s Rite of Spring,’ than to see, hear and feel the course through an immersive simulated experience, passing historic landmarks, hearing the cheering crowds, even breaking the finish line tape, on a treadmill right in your health club or living room! Remote participants can also raise funds for The Children's Miracle Network Hospitals on the simulated Washington, D.C. course, when attending the live event is not an option, bringing the race where the live and virtual event cannot go.”
Event Director Phil Stewart said, "We partnered with Outside Interactive a number of years ago and they produced a video tour of our course, which we have offered to participants as a way to prepare for the race or run the course on race day from their treadmill if they were unable to attend. We never envisioned that a global crisis would force us to cancel the spring race and provide a virtual run as the alternative. But once faced with that reality, knowing Outside Interactive had already prepared the video of our course gave us a powerful new option to help ease the disappointment of our 17,000 participants who could no longer take part in the April event in person. We are offering our loyal participants an immersive and interactive connection. We are incredibly proud of our course, which passes by some of the most scenic and historic landmarks in the country. There is so much to see and take in, giving treadmill runners and walkers the chance to experience our course in a whole new way, which may also motivate them to participate in future live events.”
McNamee went on the state, “2020 has forced race directors, charities and all concerned to think outside the box like never before. Our slogan of ‘Bringing the Race to the Runner’ has resonated with those involved in a whole new way. One of our goals is to have these races look at their event as a brand. With our patented course simulator technology, why not allow a participant to also experience a course simulation while cycling, or even rowing their event in new and separate categories? Imagine being able to spin a major marathon, interactively experiencing the course, all while raising money for charity. Most races today encompass charitable fundraising as part of their offering. We simply want to allow for a global shared experience from the most prestigious races, to your local Turkey Trot. If it gets people moving and helps raise funds for the event and its charities, I see it as a win win all around.”
Through the use of state-of-the-art HD cameras, filming, and editing techniques, the Cherry Blossom simulated course video, shot from the runner’s point of view, is made immersive through Outside Interactive’s patented free downloadable app called “Virtual Runner,” available for iPad® and Android® tablets (no phones at this time). Designed for use with any treadmill, the Virtual Runner app allows for manual speed and incline adjustment to match pace and hills on the course. Compatible Bluetooth® enabled treadmills adjust video speed and incline automatically.
About the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile:
The Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile, organized by Cherry Blossom, Inc., a 501c(3) chapter of the Road Runners Club of America, is known as “The Runner’s Rite of Spring®” in the Nation’s Capital. The staging area for the event is on the Washington Monument Grounds and the course passes in sight of all of the major Washington, DC Memorials. The event serves as a fundraiser for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, a consortium of 170 premier children’s hospitals across North America. About one-third of the funds raised support Washington, DC’s own Children’s National (“Children’s Hospital”). The event also funds two $5,000 Road Runners Club of America “Roads Scholar” grants designed to support up-and-coming U.S. distance running talent.
The Credit Union Cherry Blossom Run is also part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, “America’s Greatest Springtime Celebration.”
Credit Union Miracle Day, Inc., a consortium of credit unions and credit union suppliers in partnership with CUNA Mutual Group, PCSU and CO-OP Financial Services, is the title sponsor of the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run, 5K Run-Walk and Kids’ Run. Presenting and supporting sponsors include ASICS, the official shoe and apparel sponsor; Garmin, the presenting technology sponsor; Med Star Health, and Potomac River Running.
The event is a proud member of the PRRO Circuit (PRRO.org), a series of major non-marathon prize money road races in Tampa, FL; Washington, DC; Spokane, WA; and Utica, NY. The circuit is committed to a drug-free sport and funds drug testing at all circuit events in compliance with the standards of international and U.S. drug testing authorities.
In addition to being sanctioned by USA Track & Field and the Road Runners Club of America, the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Run has earned Gold Level Inspire Certification from the Council for Responsible Sport in recognition of its legacy of commitment to sustainability and thoughtful resource management. To learn more, visit www.CherryBlossom.org and follow the event on social media @CUCB and #CUCB2021
About Outside Interactive
Located steps from the starting line of the world-famous Boston Marathon®, Outside Interactive is a Hopkinton, MA developer of Virtual Runner, a revolutionary patented simulator application for cardio equipment. Featuring famous race courses, shot in high definition, from a runner’s point of view, Outside Interactive’s goal of “Bringing the Race to the Runner,” allows people from all around the globe to officially participate in these marquee events, getting people moving in a fun new way, while raising funds for their favorite charities, wherever a treadmill can be found. Founded by Gary McNamee, a lifelong Boston resident, avid runner and serial entrepreneur, Gary developed Virtual Runner after becoming bored on the treadmill and frustrated with not being able to train properly in New England’s unpredictable and often harsh weather. For more information, visit Outside Interactive