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How To Plan And Execute A Virtual Fun Run For Your School

Updated: May 26, 2023

Fun runs are a highly anticipated school event; even if your school is virtual, that doesn’t have to change. You can still rally your community and enhance the school spirit while getting the students and teachers active. Whether it is your first time planning a fun run or your first time planning one virtually, have no fear; we have some tips for you.

Illustration of a virtual fun run.
Parents Running

Introduction to Fun Runs

Fun runs are sporting events, but their primary goal is to help the school with fundraising. Students are encouraged to gather donations. Donations can be flat for each lap or for hitting a set distance. Students typically get prizes for performance and/or hitting certain donation levels. The school will usually have a fundraising target and share how much was raised in the race. Sometimes the school will get sponsors from the local community to donate or match to increase funding.

Planning a Fun Run

To make the fun run successful, organizers have to plan the following elements:

  • A route

  • Volunteers and helpers to mark the route, provide directions, and provide water/snacks

  • Sponsors

  • Donation Methodology

  • Event Setup

Things are slightly different this year, as many schools have to plan a virtual run. But have no fear; we will share how to plan two fun runs that follow current guidelines on social distancing. We call these two methods the Traditional Fun Run COVID-Style and the Fun Run with a Virtual Twist.

Virtual Fun Run, COVID-Style

A traditional approach to fun runs is pretty simple. In a traditional approach, it will be like a normal fun run while maintaining social distancing. To guarantee everything goes smoothly, you need to add some precautions. Also note that before planning this type of activity, please ensure you follow your state’s and county’s current guidelines.

Here are some general considerations:

Picking the Route

You need to pick a route away from pedestrian traffic. Your route should be wide so people can maintain a 6-foot distance from other running/walking groups.

Creating Groups

Based on your route’s size/width, you will most likely have to divide your runners into groups. The number of groups will depend on the size of the space. Be sure to have enough groups so that runners and walkers can maintain a distance of 6 feet even when passing each other. Distribute the group numbers to people well in advance so that people can be prepared.


As for volunteers to guide the students and the parents in the right direction and ensure people maintain social distancing all the time. You must provide them with necessary safety equipment like gloves and face masks.


Your typical sponsor list may need some updating as some businesses are struggling during this time. Focus on online businesses or local businesses that may have been able to remain open.

Event Setup

Your event should be set up so there is no overcrowding. Families should be given different start times based on their Group number (see above), and after the laps are completed, the participants should head home directly.

Make sure you have access to technology. Have the principal pre-record opening and ending remarks and ask families to watch them before and after their specific race times.

Fun Run with a Virtual Twist

We recommend taking on this new methodology for your 2020–2021 school year. This method is more profitable and much more comfortable with today’s uncertainty. In this method, you don’t need volunteers to create groups or to set up a physical event. The participants will run in a fun run, but everyone will perform it at their convenience.

Arranging the Route

We still recommend setting up a route to ensure similar distances for every participant. This time, however, you can have people complete the event on their own timeline and report their results virtually.

You could make it a scavenger hunt fun run to add some extra fun. Instead of informing the parents and the students to lap around the particular area, give hints to find city-related items around the town and send in pictures. Once a student/parent has completed the task, ask them to upload a picture to the social media platforms. This way, other people will get excited about the event and want to participate. Donations can be based on the number of items found.

Spirit Wear to Boost Morale and Fundraising

Create a special fun run spirit wear shirt and have everyone wear it while they complete their fun run. You can host the shirt on your online spirit wear store so parents can order and receive it directly. Again, have them post pictures online to excite others about the event. Having the shirts be a fundraiser also allows you to boost your fun run fundraising results.

Leverage Social Media

The key move in organizing a virtual fun run is to get the audience active. Share as much as possible on social media. This includes families taking photos and videos of their own participation. It should also include opening and closing remarks by the principal. You may also want to have a “special guest” do a video and post comments on people’s uploads. This could be a favorite teacher or staff member. Finally, allow your sponsors to be active on social media since they won’t necessarily benefit from an in-person sponsorship opportunity.

Create a Playlist

Recreate the loudspeaker experience by sharing a playlist for people to listen to while they run independently. This will make the experience even more cohesive even though not everyone is together.

Students running in grass smiling.
Students Running


Fun runs play a very important role in our school culture. It is a source of charity and gives the student a sense of sympathy and forgiveness. With the tips above, you can ensure your fun run is successful despite the changes that face schools in the 2020–21 school year. Whether you choose a traditional or a non-traditional approach to the fun run, ensure your community doesn’t forget the most important part: FUN!


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