Don't forget - you've got virtual buddies RIGHT HERE on SP! On the SP Class team, we did a couple of virtual 5k runs last summer - just everyone going at their own pace, in their own gym or out on the street, running/walking on the same day, reporting in. And Chris (our other co-leader) would calculate the person's performacne based on how others in that age-group and gender typically do.
That was fun, come to think of it ... wonder if there'd be any interest in getting that started again ... I know the Aussies and New Zealanders are in the middle of summer right now, but fall's right around the corner for them ... spring for us ... hmm. Might be worth trying! :)