In light of COVID-19 related canceled and postponed races, the desire to train can wane.  While none of us is immune to the disappointment, if there is anything COVID-19 has taught us is that when the going gets slowed down, the resilient get going. 

Such was this case for two Team SRQRunners, Michael Belle and Beth Waskom, who was planning to run a marathon in Texas on May 3rd.  Both lawyers, as well as parents to young adult children and children to aging parents, their stress levels were at the high end of the spectrum and without a race to train for and a goal to keep them going, that stress only escalated.  

Instead of throwing in the towel, they said, well, we’ll just run here!  They mentioned it to me, and a light went off.  I was also trying to think of ways to keep other Team SRQRunners motivated. I suggested we make this an SRQRunner “run goal” and give everyone the option of choosing their distance.  Beth and Michael agreed. So we took our usual running loop around Benderson Park, which is 3.5 miles, and invited SRQRunners and a few close training pals if they wanted to join in, either to run on-site or virtually.  Everyone got to pick and commit to their distance.  Training programs were then modified to accommodate every distance from 5K/3.5 miles up to a marathon.  Everyone jumped on board. And to make it even more fun, Beth and Michael graciously offered to design a special Escape the Pandemic finisher’s medal.  Everyone ran, everyone finished, everyone stretched themselves a little (or a lot) — from recovering injured runners reaching a 7-mile milestone to 10Kers doing their first half marathon to another runner completing to his first marathon in 11 years.

We will all look back on this memorable day for years to come. Thank you, COVID for giving us the opportunity to think outside the box and become stronger — and a little fitter — together.

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