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Ultrarunner moves 1,600 miles so he can run during impending lockdown

Kallin Kahn moved from Portland to a farm in rural Iowa so he could continue to run if the U.S. goes into a full lockdown

Like many runners around the world right now, U.S. ultrarunner Kallin Khan had his worries about whether national lockdowns and law-enforced quarantines would prevent him from training. In the span of just a few days, Khan and his fiancée, Hannah Carolus, went from just considering a move to actually doing it, packing up their apartment in Portland, Ore., and moving to Carolus’ family farm in Iowa (a distance of more than 2,500 kilometres), where he could still run if any mandatory quarantines were enacted. Khan told the Des Moines Register his plans for the 2020 season (if the races aren’t cancelled) and how he and his fiancée decided to uproot and move cross-country.

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Hey y’all, just wanted to give a quick update. Due to covid-19, Hannah and I have decided that we’re leaving Portland. After returning from a road trip on Tuesday night (side note: national forests/parks are great for social distance vacations), we briefly discussed what we should do if the US becomes like Italy/China. It is looking more and more like the US is moving towards a nationwide shutdown. By Wednesday morning we decided we would rather overreact and out of caution we would rather be stuck at Hannah’s parents’ 10 acre home in Omaha than in our 1 bedroom apartment here. Our wedding is this July in Iowa, and we didn't want to be stuck 2000 miles away from our families if a lockdown happened. The soonest we would be back in Portland is the Fall. Hannah and I just arrived in Omaha after the 25 hour drive… feeling relieved but also exhausted. So in the 48 hours since we decided to leave we rented a U-Haul and storage locker, packed away the things we could go without, packed the car with the things we might need for the next several months (and perhaps longer), and hit the road on Friday morning. Now more than ever we appreciate that my job is remote and allows us the flexibility to live anywhere. We don't know how long we'll be in the Midwest, but it will be for the foreseeable future. We're sad to leave Portland on such short notice. 3 weeks ago I finished our schedule to see everything we wanted to see in PNW before our wedding, and while I was able to get the money back from hotels for trips to Eugene, Seattle, Vancouver BC, and more, it still stings a bit that we'll have to hold off on seeing them for who knows how long. But in the end we think we're making the best call for our health and safety. We're incredibly grateful that we got in one last trip before the chaos fully consumed us, with stops at the Redwood National Forests, Crater Lake, and other state parks. Wishing everyone the best of health, both mental and physical, in these difficult times. They will pass eventually but for now we've got to keep strong and levelheaded. By the strength of our communities we'll be able to get through this. #run #running #runner #runnerscommunity #covid_19

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Khan ran at the University of Iowa, and he is now a member of the Bowerman Track Club Elite (the amateur division of the club). Since graduating from university in 2018, Khan has increased his mileage and taken to ultra distances. In early March, he won the USATF 50K Road Championships in New York in a time of 2:57:51. Two weeks later, he went off-road and up in distance in California at the USATF 50 Mile Trail Championships, where he placed third.

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Khan is now preparing for his first 100-mile race, which he hopes will be the North Downs Way 100 in Farnham, U.K., in August, assuming it isn’t cancelled or postponed. If there is a lockdown, he has enough space at the Iowa farm to train for the 100-miler.

“I just made a 2K cross-country loop,” he told the Register. “It’s a little rough, but I figure if I run it about 100 times it will be beat down enough for me to run on it.”

Running wasn’t the only reason Khan and Carolus decided to move. They’re getting married in Iowa in July, and with all of the uncertainty surrounding a potential lockdown and how long it might last, they didn’t want to get stuck in Portland and have to postpone their big day. Khan already works from home for a startup company, so the ability to work from wherever he wants made the decision to move even easier.

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Not everyone is as lucky as Khan, and if there are lockdowns nationwide in the U.S. and Canada, runners will be stuck training inside at home. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that, but runners always find a way to work in their daily training.