By: Christopher Mellot
I watched race after race cancel or postpone. The historic Boston Marathon delayed until September for the first time in its 124 years. I watched as some of the oldest and favorite races in the Syracuse region postponed or canceled. I knew it was a matter of time before the C&O Canal 100 was canceled.
I knew it was coming, but it still hurt. I, like so many runners across the country, had put in countless hours, ate more gels, waffles, and drank more electrolytes than I care to admit. I had run throughout the winter in central New York. I ran beside one of the great lakes, traveled hundreds of miles while going nowhere on the treadmill, I ran in sub-zero temperatures, and in inches and sometimes feet of snow. I was ready to run hard. I knew the cancellation was coming.
When I finally received the email, it still hurt. I threw myself a little pity party, I ran too hard on my daily run. I was upset, angry, sad, and everything in-between. Knowing it was going to be canceled isn’t the same as canceled.
I was upset because I believed that a sub-24 hour finish was possible. I had been putting in consistent mileage since the New York City Marathon. I had assembled the Avengers, The Fellowship of the Ring, and The Justice League combined (Really just incredible people) of a crew. My partner Chelsea and my good friend David. Chelsea has crewed me at about every significant event since I started running the marathon distance or longer. David wanted to crew and pace me some. Having somebody willing to crew is half the battle.
After my angry, upset pity party of a run. I asked myself, “What now?” So many others are in the same boat asking ourselves what now. I decided to do what I try to always do and look on the bright side. With my race being canceled, I could focus on some different projects.
As I was training for my race, I had some seventy plus miles weeks planned, so I decided to run an average of ten miles a day for the entire month of March. I spent sixty-one hours on my feet and ran 313 miles.
Another project that I have been slowly working on since I moved in August is to run every single street in Oswego. I have finished most of the west side of the river and hope to safely cover all the roads on the east side and the streets that are farther out. This project was inspired by following Rickey Gates running every single street in San Francisco. I am tracking my progress on Strava with the heat map feature.
While I understand that the actual races can’t happen as runners, we can still support race directors and other folks. I am doing this by participating in Trail Racing Over Texas Brazos Bend virtual 100K, Human Potential Running Series Virtual Pandemic 24 hour race, and Aravaipa Running Aravaipa Strong 100 Mile. Many runners are using these virtual challenges to keep motivation. I am using them to support race directors that I might not have an opportunity to run their races because they are states away.
With races being canceled and postponed, we can all be upset about the uncertainty of things. It’s absolutely okay to not be okay, but we can also find ways to move forward. I am channeling my frustrations into new adventures and new opportunities.