February 23rd, 2021
Your Races are all Canceled, Now What?
It all started with Boston. On March 13, the B.A.A. announced that the Boston Marathon would be postponed from its original date of April 16 to the fall. Just two weeks later, Western States Endurance Run canceled the 2020 event originally slated for late June. With those iconic races making adjustments, it was expected that other races would follow suit, and they did.
That rockin’ 2020 race schedule you planned out to keep you motivated during the winter is now completely shattered. Now what?
1. Run the spirit of the event. Just because there won’t be hundreds of people around, doesn’t mean you didn’t train hard and can’t still cross your own finish line. Map out that 13.1 mile loop around your part of town and have those two free beers waiting for you on your front porch when you finish. (That is why people sign up for those half marathons, right? Free beer?)
Some events are still on, just virtual this year. Mari Balow, from Grind Run Company reports “We put up a virtual challenge and had more runners complete a 55k in April than we could have imagined. They ran alone, for some, a distance much farther than they had ever attempted, for no medal or official stats. Astounding grit and determination!”
2. Prepare for next year. Many races that were canceled are offering refunds or free deferrals to their 2021 events. This definitely softens the blow of the canceled event, knowing you’ll be at the starting line next year and allowing you to rebuild your race schedule.
“The Grind Run Company is likely to cancel our two premier 2020 events, but we are offering deferments to registered runners. Our goal is to come back even stronger in 2021.” says Balow.
3.Relax. Yes, you put in a ton of work leading up to your event. Yes, it is frustrating to see your “A” race get delayed a full year. However, it is something we are all going through together. It is more important than ever to take a deep breath and relax. This is all new and we are all figuring it out together. Take this time to run for yourself.
At first, I was pretty bummed out that both my 100-mile races were postponed until next year. I had spent hours over the winter in harsh conditions romping around trails by myself to prepare for these events. When I received the news that these events were not going to be held this year, it felt like all my training was for naught. I eventually pulled myself out of that rut and refocused that energy and effort into a few running projects involving the Eastern Trail. The purpose of these projects is to give me the motivation and opportunity to push myself on those now canceled race dates. So while I may not be seeing any of you at a starting line anytime soon, give me a wave on the trail.
— Text & Photo: Todd Reutlinger is a local ultra and trail runner. When he isn’t running, you can find him shipping shoes and fitting feet at Fleet Feet Maine Running.