Disclaimer: This recap fo the Virtual 2021 New Year’s Day 5K contains affiliate links…


Starting 2021 Off Right With a Race

With 2020 being somewhat of a bust of a year for my running and racing, I began looking at local races I could run on New Year’s Day. I found two races, one with a choice to run it in person or virtually and the other with only a virtual option. I half expected the live race to move to the virtual only option as our commonwealth’s Covid cases were rising and restrictions were tightening so I opted for the virtual only race which just happened to be free.

Yes, you read that correctly, during my dilemma of deciding which race to run, my friend offered up a race code she’d purchased at the beginning of the year and couldn’t use before it expired so my decision became an easy one. Another virtual race was meant to be and I signed up for the Virtual 2021 New Year’s Day 5K.

BTW, the live race went off without a hitch and in hindsight I’m a little sad that I didn’t gamble and sign up for it, too, since I had my choice of four days to run my free race….


About the Race

The New Year’s Day 5K is hosted by PR Races and normally is held at Reston Town Center on a different course than the other 5K’s I’ve run at RTC. For this particular race, runners leave RTC and run the majority of the race on the W&OD Trail, but first they must navigate a narrow, twisty, and root disrupted trail connecting the two locations. I’ve run and biked the entire course, but never raced it with hundreds of other runners. From what I’ve read on other bloggers’ race recaps, the connecting trail becomes quite congested and leaves a lot to be desired for those hoping to race the course.


Packet Delivery

With virtual races, packet pickup has become as easy as checking the mail. I am getting quite spoiled having race packets delivered to my mailbox, especially for races when the packet arrives prior to the dates set for running. For this race, the packet included a shirt, bib, and finisher’s medal; however, despite getting an email saying shirts and bibs were shipping first and the medal was on backorder, I received my medal the day before NYD and my shirt and bib three days after.

Race shirt…


Race bib…


Finisher’s Medal…


Can I Just Get a Race Shirt to Fit

There’s something about me and race shirts… they never seem to fit the first go-around. For most live races, runners have the option to exchange their shirts for the right size after the race if the race organization has shirts leftover. For virtual races, that option isn’t available. For all of my virtual races I have ordered the opposite size of what I’ve needed – small when I needed a medium and medium when I needed a small.

For this race, I carefully checked my previous long sleeve race shirts and ordered the same size, a small, but even though it’s made by the same company as the other shirts that fit, it’s too small through the forearms. Guess I’ve gotta cut out those hammer curls. 😉


Stalking the Weather, Even for a Virtual Race

The weather forecast all week had called for rain all day NYE and NYD; however, the rain clouds split our area as they worked their way up the mid-Atlantic region and we didn’t see any rain until about 9 AM on NYD. Based on Thursday night’s updated weather forecast of the rain possibly holding off until late morning, I set my race time at 8 AM on Friday, New Year’s Day, and finished my race about 30 minutes before rain set in for the day.


New Year’s Day, My Chosen Race Day

Wanting to stick with tradition, I planned to run the race on New Year’s Day even if it was raining; however, I was relieved to beat the rain. I left my house shortly after 8 AM and walked to the top of my cul-de-sac to start the race. I ran on my little neighborhood circle where I run most of my pre-dawn training runs. Like a familiar race course, I knew how to pace myself on its two hills and hoped for a good performance on my very own course.


How I Did

I started out strong and stayed that way, actually running reverse splits. I didn’t stop my watch right at 5K and finished my 3.13-mile race in 25:33 (8:10 pace) and documented my official time with a picture of my brand new Garmin (affiliate link).

I ended with the following reverse splits:

  • • Mile 1 – 8:18
  • • Mile 2 – 8:13
  • • Mile 3 – 8:08
  • • Final .13 mile – 6:50 pace

I don’t know how I finished within my age group because age groups weren’t broken down (nor were ages published); however, I finished 9th out of 119 females and 22nd out of 186 total runners who uploaded their results.


Running With Friends from Afar

My friend Kim at Running On the Fly invited a group of fitness bloggers to run our virtual New Year’s Eve/Day races together and send pictures to her for a collage. So even though I ran the race alone and in my neighborhood, fitness blogging friends from around the world were with me in spirit as we happily brought in 2021 together!


Final Thoughts

Considering I wasn’t able to run during the first half of 2020 and then without incorporating walk intervals until December 5th, I was thrilled with my performance. It looks like 2021 is off to a good start!


  • • Did you run in a New Year themed race?
  • • If you ran a NYE or NYD race, was it in person or virtual?
  • • If you ran a virtual race, did you run it on its usual course? ~ We were asked not to run the usual course which was fine with me since it saved me from driving about 20 minutes each way.