“If there is a more supportive community than the Virtual Runner family anywhere in the world, then I haven’t seen it”

As 2023 has now drawn to a close, we’ve been looking back at another fantastic year for Virtual Runner – one in which we celebrated our 10th anniversary!

As part of the anniversary celebrations we told the stories of some of our most dedicated Virtual Runners on our social media channels.

In case you missed it, we’ve rounded up a selection of them here.

These community members’ stories prove that age, illness and disability need not be a barrier to getting active. Take a look through them and be inspired!


“If there is a more supportive community than the VR family anywhere in the world, then I haven’t seen it.”

Tim Sorrell, Nottingham


Tim, 49, has been a part of Virtual Runner since its early days after finding out about it through his running club.

He took up running after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2009 as a way of feeling more in control of his body.

He said: “My running club and Virtual Runner helped me to find a community where I could take those first steps into running more seriously in a friendly, inclusive and supportive environment.

“Not everyone wants to join a ‘proper’ running club or to sign up for ‘serious’ events, and VR is so inclusive and encouraging. Once I joined the Facebook community, I was blown away by the positivity I found there. There is no judgment and absolutely loads of love and support and it’s just such a wonderful place to be.”

In 2016 Virtual Runner hosted two races to raise money for the MS Trust to support Tim with his London Marathon fundraising.

He said: “Those events will stay with me forever. Watching my friends come together to take part in the races was wonderful, but seeing strangers signing up to take part and then reporting how they had got on in the Facebook community was so moving.

“I was humbled by the support and by the money raised for a relatively small charity that has been such a fundamental support to me in my own journey with MS.

“If there is a more supportive community than the VR family anywhere in the world, then I haven’t seen it, but I’d love to be a part of it. It’s a daily joy to see people of all ages and all abilities checking in with updates on their progress and immediately receiving the unqualified support of people they have probably never met from all over the world.

“If you’ve ever felt like running and that sort of thing isn’t for you and that you’ll be judged as being too old or too slow or too anything… then VR is the place for you. You will find your people and you will find yourself achieving things that you never thought possible and challenging yourself to do even more.”


“The older I get the more I realise how important it is to keep moving”

Jenny Livy, Winchester


Jenny Livy, 76, first found out about Virtual Runner in 2018 and in the five years since then has taken part in more than 80 races.

She loves the flexibility it offers, compared to more traditional running clubs.

She said: “Local running clubs are far too fast for me. I can get out when I want to and, when I’m flagging and the couch calls, the fact I am supporting a charity kicks me out.

“I love the monthly medals as they give me a sense of achievement and mean I have to get out each month.

“The older I get the more I realise how important it is to keep moving.”

Jenny takes the races at her own pace, walking when she needs to.

“The time does not matter, but doing it does,” she said.


“Virtual Runner has been my life-line for many years”

Claire Ryan, Nottinghamshire


Claire, a wheelchair user, has taken part in more than 30 Virtual Runner events since 2019 and says she loves the inclusivity of the community.

“Virtual Runner has helped me is so many ways,” she said. “Combating loneliness, isolation, depression, anxieties and, best of all, making the sport of running an inclusive, accessible and supportive community that never ever leaves anyone because they have a slow pace, or a flat tyre.”

She first heard about Virtual Runner through her running group the Rebel Runners and has since become addicted to adding to her medal tally!

She said: “I love the unique, colourful, enchanted, beautiful medals. Once you achieve one virtual run/push the addiction starts to creep up on you and before long you end up signing up to the next one. It’s a great accomplishment showing off all your medals.”

A keen sit-skier and wheelchair tennis player too, Claire says she would recommend Virtual Runner to anyone.

“There may be people out there who don’t think they quite qualify as a runner/pusher/athlete, due to a huge array of factors, but this should never stop anyone of dreaming or having the urge to challenge themselves. It may seem impossible, yet it is very possible, you have to start with a positive mindset and believe in yourself.”



“My mind is quieter after a run.”

Sam Tubbs, Hampshire



Since joining Virtual Runner in 2017, Sam, 52, has become one of our most prolific runners – amassing around 200 medals. She started taking part with very little running experience, using the medals as extra motivation while she was completing Couch 2 5K. Now she is a keen runner, has completed a 10K, and credits running with helping her juggle the demands of a challenging job and parenting – her youngest child has autism.

She said: “It was, and still is, hard to balance everything, but my mind is quieter after a run. I have cried on runs, but felt on top of everything- even if it’s just for a while!

“My fitness levels have improved so much too.

“Virtual Runner has helped to keep me motivated. I think ‘I’ve signed up for these medals so I’d better earn them!’

“The medals are fab, the community is fab and Susan is so inspiring.”

If you’re feeling inspired why not sign up for our 2024 Monthly Challenge Series here or join our Facebook community here.