Sometime at the beginning of the summer, I wrote about trying an app called “The Conqueror Challenges.” The premise behind the use of this app is pretty simple. Once you have it installed and create an account, you can sign up for virtual marathons. These marathons (at least, that I’ve seen) have been as short as 26 kilometres all the way up to several thousand kilometres. You pay a nominal fee and you are able to choose a time limit (weekly amounts) to complete your challenge.
It’s a fun and interesting way to contribute to one’s overall fitness. The organization that runs the app plants a tree for every 20% of the challenge you complete. You get post cards and updates as you progress. For example, I completed the Mt. Everest virtual marathon, which involved travelling 64.2 kilometres. I gave myself a 3-week timeframe, but I was done within the first week. 64.2 kilometres racks up pretty fast on a bicycle.
At the end of your challenge, they ship you an actual medal depicting the challenge you were on. They’re pretty sweet, made of metal and usually have some special aspect to it specific to the challenge. For example, my “Marathon to Athens” medal has a slot with a Greek coin inside it. A reproduction, of course. But neat, nonetheless.
The app syncs automatically with my Runkeeper app and will include any distance-related workout, such as running, walking or cycling. The St. Francis Way medal you see in the photo above was 502.8 kilometres. One of the best ways that this app keeps you motivated is that you pay money but lose the medal if you don’t complete the challenge in time. Nothing lights a fire under your ass like knowing you’ll actually lose money you’ve paid, if you get lazy and skip a few days of working out. Plus, you get to learn a great deal about all the different countries that are featured in these challenges.
I’m having a blast with these and they’re definitely conversation starters for those who see them. If you’re looking for a way to keep yourself on track, I highly recommend this. As long as you keep your goals realistic. I gave myself an 8-week timeframe for the 502.8-kilometre challenge. It would have been ridiculous to try and have it done in 2! But as long as you keep it realistic and consistent, you’re good to go.
Doing things in a virtual environment is the way of the new world. Why should marathons be any different. I’m always on the lookout for new ways to increase my fitness and new ways to exercise. This one has been loads of fun and it doesn’t hurt that I get a bit of bling to brag about, after the fact. ☯️