The spring racing season has taken a big hit due to the recent outbreak of coronavirus. Most upcoming major sporting events (both within and outside of the running world) have been cancelled or postponed. If your goal race won’t be happening until the fall, put your fitness to use and consider running your own marathon.
Meghan Yuri Young is a Toronto-based runner who had planned to run the LA Half-Marathon in April. The race was cancelled yesterday.
While she acknowledges that runners need to take the necessary precautions and listen to their cities’ health care officials, Yuri Young also thinks runners should aim to achieve as much normalcy as is responsible. There’s no reason why a run shouldn’t be included in that. “All of my friends and teammates, provided they’re healthy, are going to continue with training and run a half-marathon on April 5, which is when the race was supposed to run. We’ll do it locally and map out a route.”
— Steve Evans (@sevans1956) March 12, 2020
Other runners like Steve Evans are planning to go to a local park and run their goal race there. Evans wrote on Twitter: “No official time, no t-shirt, no entry fee, no food or refreshments. However, we do have a restroom.” He plans to run a marathon on March 28 by completing 26 loops of a local park.
Yuri Young and Evans don’t know each other, but they’re on the same page. Yuri Young says, “We’re mapping out a route and we’re doing it. It’s been really amazing to see communities come together. Social media has been awesome for this. We want to rally and run, while also being responsible.”
Virtual racing is also an option
Platforms like Zwift allow runners to compete with one another from afar. While this isn’t exactly recreating a marathon, it at least allows runners to continue to be competitive, while remaining safe.
Don’t run closed courses
While running your goal race distance on the day that you originally intended is a great idea, doing the actual route isn’t. Boston officials have asked runners to please avoid running the race route, since roads will not be closed to traffic and there will be none of the usual security measures associated with the race. The world major marathon has been postponed from April 20 to September 14. Yuri Young echoes this statement. “Don’t run the actual course, that’s not what we’re planning to do. We’re just running the distance with a small group of healthy people.”
Some of the only literature on exercise and COVID-19 has come from the Journal of Sport and Health Science, which suggests that with more people working from and remaining at home, there’s a risk of sedentary lifestyles contributing to worsened health conditions.
If you have a stationary bike at home, ride it. If you have a treadmill at home, use it. Even if it’s walking the stairs or lifting some light weights, do your best to keep moving, and if that includes running your goal race solo or with a small group, we encourage that as well.