The World’s First Marathon in the Metaverse Is Happening Right Now

Photo: Getty Images/Maskot
For elder millennials or anyone whose generation is marked by an X or above, the metaverse may still be a bit of a mystery. Essentially, it’s the next-gen cyberspace, an online world of virtual and augmented realities built for social connection. People can create unique experiences there—like concerts, for example—and then invite anyone they want to come in avatar form. Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, is already anticipating it being the future of the internet. And now Degree Deodorant is making literal strides into the metaverse by hosting the Degree Metathon, the world’s first marathon in the metaverse.

Okay, if you’re not well-versed in this new virtual world, there’s a lot to unpack here. So we’re going to deep dive into some FAQs about WTH this all means.

How is Degree managing to host a marathon in the metaverse?

To go from making a very tangible good (i.e. deodorant) to organizing a 26.2 mile run taking place in a virtual world, Degree partnered with Decentraland, a company that allows people to create virtual communities.

Anyone interested in participating in the (virtual) race could also create an avatar, the digital version of themselves that gets to bop around the metaverse, through Decentraland as well.

The 26.2-virtual mile race takes place in the Vegas City Sports Quarter, Decentraland's largest district. Viva Las Metaverse, anyone?

When is the Degree Metathon happening?

The Degree Metathon started yesterday and runs through today. It looks like registration is closed, but you can sneak a peek at what the race looks like below:

Who is participating?

Avatars of real-life humans all over the world are joining the race—including a few famous ones like Paralympic medalist Blake Leeper, Grammy-nominated recording artist Fat Joe, para-snowboarder Amy Purdy, and pro-soccer player Hector Herrera, according to the press release.

Why is Degree hosting a marathon in the metaverse?

Degree’s main goal in hosting the Metathon is to raise awareness around the need for more inclusivity and accessibility for people with disabilities, both IRL and in the virtual worlds in which people increasingly spend their time. The hope is that, since the metaverse is still in its nascent stages, events like this may help influence developers to do more to make it representative of the very real society in which we live.

"We hope the Degree Metathon will spark conversation on why representation matters—in both the Metaverse and the physical world—and its power in challenging societal norms,” says Kathryn Swallow, global brand vice president of Degree in a press release for the event. “We're excited about our partnership with Decentraland and about the potential to influence the virtual world as it's being built and more widely adopted by consumers."

As part of the race (and after consulting with disabilities experts), Degree tasked Decentraland with creating the first-ever adaptive wearables for avatars, as well as designing a wheelchair-friendly course. And in the more tangible universe, Degree’s also pledged to spend $5 million over the next five years to help support inclusivity and accessibility in IRL youth sports programs through its Breaking Limits Program.

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