Virtual events and solo running challenges are great, but we’re all eagerly awaiting the return of mass participation races. In most places, even if races are being held, they have limited fields and many COVID-19 restrictions. Well, that’s not the case in New Zealand, where people aren’t adapting to a “new normal” like the rest of the world, they’re just living the same old normal they’ve always known. That was put on display on November 1, when 14,000 runners took part in the Auckland Marathon. We know the Kiwis aren’t trying to show off, but at this point, it’s pretty hard not to feel at least a bit jealous.
Business as usual
New Zealand has done a phenomenal job dealing with the coronavirus, and in total, the country has seen fewer than 2,000 cases throughout the entire pandemic. There are still a few infections every so often, but it’s nothing compared to the numbers that other countries are reporting. Because of this trickle of COVID-19 (compared to a full-on second wave), New Zealanders get to go about regular life, which includes running marathons with more than 10,000 of their closest friends.
After the success of the Auckland Marathon, organizers posted to Instagram to thank all participants, closing the statement with, “See you on 31 October 2021.” Anywhere else in the world and that promise would be a feeble one met with a lot of skepticism. We still have close to two months left in the year, but events slated for 2021 are already being cancelled or rescheduled. In New Zealand, though, it’s looking like organizers will be able to keep that promise and hold their race once again next October.
Today I got to run in the Auckland marathon with 10s of thousands of other happy healthy alive NZ'ers. Only possible because of our leadership and how the country worked together to fight this. pic.twitter.com/dbAZEvazm0
— Ryan CrawCour (@ryancrawcour) November 1, 2020
Remember the times when you would head to the store without worrying about social distancing or if you’d remembered your mask? Yeah, that was awesome. You could arrange a group workout and actually draft if you wanted rather than run in separate lanes on the track. We took those days for granted, and now we’re stuck looking at New Zealand and wishing we could be like them and high-five our running partners without hesitation. If there are any New Zealanders reading this now, please, appreciate what you’ve got. Next time you enter a race or go run with friends, take a moment to think about us up here in Canada and appreciate that you’re living the life we’re all waiting to return to.
We’re doing alright
We know we’re doing alright in Canada. Yes, it’s still 100 per cent necessary and important to remain cautious and follow COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions, but we’re lucky enough to be able to get outside for runs. We’ve got virtual races and challenges we can run, and we can at least run with other people, just as long as we keep our distance. There have even been some races held around the country, and although they were nothing like a 14,000-person event, that’s still something to get excited about.