Little late reply, but maybe you are still interested in this matter. Zombies Run have virtual races twice a year. And they take it on seriously.
Weeks before the event you get your race package with starters bib, medal (to be opened after the race ofcourse ), shirt if you choose to include this and always some hidden clues. You can call a telephone number, go to a special website and try to figure out what your race mission is going to be.
The race itself it’s just you of course, against all the other participants on a special results page where the times are displayed. You have a week to run five or ten kilometers or both as often as you like.
I agree that this can not match a real race experience with 10.000+ competitors, public, start and finish etc. But I think this a virtual race is something else that should not even try to get close to an actual race.
The community feeling can be recreated by trying to sort out the clues and contacting each other about it on a special forum (only available for participants).
I just enrolled for my second virtual race which starts next week. But the first one felt more special, and I wonder if I would participate in a third virtual race.
First of is Rotterdam Marathon tomorrow (business relay 11K, not the complete 42K ), 40.000 competitors, 900.000 public and a city buzzing of excitement… No way a virtual race can accomplish the same. Thats why you have to create something else, that has some community experience and makes you feel that you are part of something instead of running alone (in fact you are running alone, but you should try to imagine all the others that are doing the same). Not the easiest thing to accomplish.
And for the entry fee there where three options, differencing in the type of race shirt you would get. no shirt, short sleeves, long sleeves.
Hope this was helpful, still playing with the idea of an virtual race?