Staying active and in the public eye is important for the group from a sponsorship perspective, too, since brand endorsements (not ticket sales) are what make professional racers money.
â€œWe couldnâ€™t afford to go quiet,â€ Taryn Kirby, the communications director for Mitchelton-Scott, said. â€œItâ€™s at first a shock when you canâ€™t race, itâ€™s what theyâ€™re wired to do. But certainly the feedback weâ€™ve heard is really positive.â€ The technology could also offer a bit of consolation for harried race directors faced with disappointing hundreds of participants.
â€œNothingâ€™s ever going to replace the experience of running down the road in an iconic event,â€ McGillivray said. â€œThe idea here is that they trained so hard, and now they donâ€™t have the opportunity, well, this is something. Thatâ€™s an individual choice. If thatâ€™s gonna make them feel better, then god bless â€˜em, go for it.â€
Gary McNamee, the CEO of Outside Interactive, another leading simulation company that produces high-fidelity digital versions of races and trails around the globe, told Mashable that he has been fielding a higher amount of inquiries than usual from race organizers curious about his product. Virtual Runner is an application that works with a footpod that the runner attaches to his/her shoelace. The footpod communicates with a USB receiver attached to the runnerâ€™s laptop, PC, iPad or Tablet. Wireless data from the footpod transmits the runnerâ€™s pace and controls the speed of the video through this software. If a runner does not have a footpod, the speed can be adjusted manually for iPad and Tablet users.
See Coronavirus made races unsafe, so athletes and organizers are turning to simulations
It ain't the real deal, but at least it's something.