While it may be a very different experience from previous years' races, that was exactly what inspired ST artist Lee Chee Chew as he was coming up with the design for what finishers are entitled to: a New Balance NB Dry T-shirt worth $49.
Wanting the final product to reflect the current circumstances, but with a light-hearted touch, the 54-year-old designed a cartoon that shows a runner leaping over a coronavirus particle.
This is the first time that a cartoon has been incorporated into the ST Run T-shirt's look.
Mr Lee said: "I wanted something on the shirt that explains what caused ST to have a virtual run, and the culprit - Covid-19 - is the obvious choice.
"To make the drawing more fun, I added a runner making a gesture that shows both playfulness and disgust at the virus."
He hopes that the design will offer some form of encouragement during these unprecedented times.
"The visual of the runner jumping over the virus conveys the message that we should be undaunted by the pandemic," added Mr Lee, who is known for his popular "Chew On It!" comic strips.
His comic strip in The Straits Times is called Chee Chew's Take.
ST sports editor Lee Yulin, who is also organising chairman of The Straits Times Virtual Run (STVR), said: "Giving our finishers an iconic T-shirt to mark their participation in the virtual run is the least we can do to reward them for their support.
"We are delighted that Chee Chew has lent his considerable talents and designed a unique keepsake for our participants."
BOTH PLAYFUL AND SERIOUS
To make the drawing more fun, I added a runner making a gesture that shows both playfulness and disgust at the virus. The visual of the runner jumping over the virus conveys the message that we should be undaunted by the pandemic.
MR LEE CHEE CHEW, Straits Times artist, on his cartoon design for the ST Virtual Run T-shirt.
Race finishers will also receive an unusual medal, which can complete the three-piece keepsake introduced by the ST Run last year.
When combined, the three pieces will form an image of the city's landscape, which has formed the backdrop of the ST Run in recent years.
To commemorate the newspaper's 175th anniversary, there will be two distances offered for the STVR - 17.5km and 175km.
Those who complete the 17.5km event will receive the second part of the medal, while those who go the full 175km distance will receive both the second and third pieces.
The first piece was awarded to ST Run race finishers last year.
The race period for the 17.5km run is Oct 9 to 18, while the 175km run will take place from Oct 19 to Dec 17.
Entry fees for past participants of the ST Run are $15 (17.5km) and $20 (175km). Early-bird prices are $18 and $23, respectively, till Sept 11. Normal rates are $22 and $27.
Runners are allowed to record their distances over several sessions and at any outdoor location.
Registration closes at 11.59pm on Oct 4.
Those interested can sign up online here.
For updates, follow the event's Facebook and Instagram pages (@thestraitstimesrun).