Anyone who's felt the adrenaline of a crowd cheering you to the finish line after 10, 21 or 42 kilometres knows how important it is. It's the extra boost you need when you think you're running on empty, a final surge to the line to get a personal best time.
But runners competing in The Canberra Times Marathon Festival next week will have to find something else to drive them across the line.
Because there'll be no starter's gun, no crowd gathered at the finish line and no competitors to measure yourself against.
This year the race is going virtual, with organisers forced to adjust because of coronavirus concerns.
Sole Motive race director Julie Tedd said the technology being used would allow participants to have a virtual experience as close to the real thing as possible.
"In the app they've replicated the maps that people would usually be running, whether it's the 50km course or 10km course. So no matter where you are in the world it will show you on the map where you are," Ms Tedd said.
"It's a virtual experience into Canberra itself."
The app, which has been developed with TATA Consultancy Services, also allows friends and family to follow your run in real time.
"You could say 'I'm going to be running the marathon at 6pm and here's my bid number', and spectators can type that in and it will show them on the map where you are. You could also use it to race against friends," Ms Tedd said.
The marathon will also utilise technology from Just Race Results-timing software which allows you to see how you rank against other runners.
"After you finish timing your run with your Garmin or FitBit, we send you an individualised link so that you can input your time and be ranked against others in your age group for your distance," Ms Tedd said.
Canberrans have until November 4 to register for the race and can run in it any time from November 7 to November 15.
Those who had already registered for the 2020 event will also be automatically transferred to the 2021 Marathon which is expected to go ahead on April 10-11 next year.
For new registrations, the marathon has three options, ranging from $15-55.
Race attendees can choose to run races from 2km, 5.4km, 10km, 21.1km, 42.2km or 50km and can run or walk anywhere for the festival.
Runners will also receive a medal and singlet depending on the marathon package they register for.
Ms Tedd said while it was challenging to move such a large event online, the positive response from Canberrans proved it was worth it.
"Even though it was something new, we've learnt to be versatile and utilise technology," Ms Tedd said.
"We want to keep that experience going, keep people active and give them a goal, which is what people need during this time."
- To register for the event, visit events.solemotive.com/canberra-times-marathon-festival/virtual.