It’s officially marathon season in Canada and that means runners across the country are gearing up to hit the track, road or pathway! With the COVID-19 pandemic, things are looking a bit different this year, with most marathons going virtual, including the GMS Queen City Marathon – of which we are proud to be title sponsor once again!

Whether you’re running a traditional marathon or a virtual one, it’s important you do some marathon preparation. When you get into your marathon planning there are some safety essentials you should follow to make sure you can run the best race possible. We’ve put a list together of some of the best safety tips.  

Map Out Your Route Ahead of Time
One of the great things about a virtual marathon is that you have more flexibility of where you can run. Plan for the big day by knowing your marathon route like the back of your hand. Try going for trial runs throughout your training so you know exactly what to expect when it comes to traffic, hazards and more.

Let People Know About Your Virtual Marathon
Letting your friends and family know about your virtual marathon isn’t just so that they can support and cheer you on - it’s important for your safety too. Virtual marathons are an individual event so you’re most likely going to be alone. The chances of something happening are slim, but make sure you let people know the route and time that you’ll be running. This also goes for when you’re training for the event.

Wear the Right Gear
Dress for success! Obviously, a lot of your clothing choices will depend on the weather but make sure you plan out a few options for what you’re going to wear on race day. Don’t wear anything brand new that you haven’t trained in before. Finding out your brand-new runners cause major blisters during the virtual marathon would not be good. Everything you wear should be well worn in so you know you’ll be comfortable. If you’re running on a road where cars could be driving by, make sure your clothing is bright and reflective.

Watch Out for Cars and Other Obstacles
The most important thing is to be aware of your surroundings so that you can stay on track safely! If you choose to run your virtual marathon on a roadway with vehicles, never run with your back towards traffic. Always face the traffic and try to make eye contact with the drivers if you can.

Speaking of being aware of your surroundings, make sure you are not restricting your ability to hear other hazards. For some, nothing can get you pumped up and keep you motivated during a marathon like listening to some great tunes. But if you have your headphones in, you aren’t always aware of your surroundings. Make sure you either keep the music turned down or only wear one earbud.

Eat Food That Will Keep You Fueled
You need to fuel up for your big day and that starts with the evening before. Load up on carbs for your pre-race dinner with some pasta or rice. Kick-off virtual marathon day with something solid to start the morning but nothing too heavy. The most important thing is to stick to something that you usually eat when you train so nothing new messes with your stomach during the race. Check out our blog on marathon nutrition for some great before and after marathon meal ideas.

Follow COVID-19 Guidelines
It’s likely you’ll be running your virtual marathon alone, but if you’re running with other people, make sure you maintain social distancing of at least two meters. Also, don’t forget to bring your own hand sanitizer and water bottle and don’t touch crossing signals, handrails, benches or signs. If you feel sick, stay home. No marathon is worth risking your own health or others and if you plan your virtual race early, you can always postpone it to another day.

Stay Hydrated
Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. You need to get enough fluids during your marathon to keep you going. If your marathon is longer than an hour it’s a good idea to have a ‘sports’ drink to keep your electrolytes in balance. It also helps prevent cramps, which can make running a marathon nearly impossible.  Make sure you don’t drink too much water as it can cause something called hyponatremia, which can not only ruin the race, but is also risky to your health.

Practice Sun Safety
In Canada, most of our marathons take place in the summer. Virtual marathons are no different. That’s why you need to take precautions when you’re in the hot sun!

Apply sunscreen before the race and make sure you’re wearing a hat and sunglasses. Depending on how long your marathon is, you may need to reapply every two hours, especially if you’re sweating.


One of the most important things to remember is to have fun and reward yourself for taking part in your virtual marathon. It takes a lot of dedication to stick to a training schedule (see our tips on motivation) and see a marathon through, especially during these unusual times, so pat yourself on the back. We hope these safety tips help you run the best virtual marathon you can! If you want to find out more information about the Queen City Marathon visit