In February, of this year Andrea Seccafien quietly ran the Canadian half-marathon record of 1:09:38. At the time, she, like everyone else, had no idea that the world was weeks away from a global pandemic and that the Marugame Half-Marathon would be her last race for a while. The 2016 Olympian in the 5,000m is in the process of testing the waters on the road and the longer track events, to eventually make the move to competitive marathoning. She’s stationed out of Melbourne, Australia, which has recently been hit by a second wave of COVID-19, forcing the city into a stage-four lockdown.
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Beautiful morning for a session ☀️ Smiling because I ran my last three reps in only a sports bra and I can’t remember the last time it was warm enough for that. Missing my usual European training camp at this time of year, but trying to make the most of training at home. 🏡
For Seccafien, this means that she once again can’t go further than 5K from her home, can’t use the gym and can’t get treatment. She explains that in stage three there was an elite athlete exception: “I could get treatment and I could train with my group. It was pretty relaxed. But stage four is a completely different thing. Everything is on a knife’s edge. We thought we were OK here, but every government decision is so critical. There were like two weeks where life was pretty normal, but now it’s different.”
How much ground can you cover in a 5K radius?
Turns out, a lot more than you’d think. For Seccafien, she’s got almost everything she needs to train. “You’d be surprised at how large an area a 5K radius covers. Where I live there are trails, a flat bike path and lots of parks to do strides and drills. I’d love a flat, gravel path, but that’s the only thing I’m missing. Really, I’m in a very good position.”
She says she’s got access to about 31K of running space total. For example, in Toronto, if someone lived in Liberty Village, they’d be able to access High Park, Central Tech track and the Martin Goodman Trail all within a 5K radius. That would cover most runners’ bases. In Ottawa, runners could also hit lots of great running with the pathway along the Rideau Canal and the trails at the Experimental Farm accessible from most downtown neighbourhoods.
Seccafien is currently running alone, but she’ll recruit her fiancé to join her for her hardest session of the week. She says that having treatment withdrawn again is the trickiest part, but she’s also learning from the experience. “I’m trying to find ways to treat myself and get ahead of things that have historically been problems for me. It’s a good exercise in managing things alone, which you actually often have to do during the competitive season when you’re travelling. You don’t always have your usual practitioners with you.”
Canada is trending well right now, but if we happen to regress, Seccafien says it’s easier to stay positive the second time around. “It’s really the only choice you have.”