My Race Was Cancelled. Now What?

Like many of you, I’ve been training for several spring races since December. Races like, “Amway River Bank Run”, and “Rivertown Races”. My wife, Patty, has been training hard for Gazelle Girl. (a women’s only race). We’ve all put in many hours of hard work. Making self-care a priority, and meeting new friends. But then…COVID-19.

My training began on December 7, 2019. Dan, Crissy, Janene and I took off for a 10 mile run through the streets, and Christmas lights, of Grand Rapids. Our goal was to get in 10 miles, while seeing Christmas lights, Christmas decorations, and spread some serious jolly. “Oh what fun, it is to train for a 25K”. Since then, it has been weekly long runs, speedwork, and strides. Running through snow, and icy conditions. Running with a purpose: chasing a PR for my spring races. Training was going well, until,

We have been agonizing over the decision to postpone this year’s Amway River Bank Run…we sincerely hope that you understand we tried to hold our date, however it’s a matter of public health and safety.”

Amway River Bank Run

“We have made the hard decision to change our April 19, 2020 event to a virtual experience. we are heartbroken we will not be able to gather, run and walk together, watch you cross the finish line and celebrate with each and every one of you, however, we look forward to continuing on this journey with you as best as we can during these unique circumstances.”

Gazelle Girl

“It has been out hope to hold on to our April 25 race date to provide some hope and stability in this unprecedented time of uncertainty. Unfortunately, as things continue to progress it has become clear that we will no longer be able to hold on to April 25.”

Rivertown Races

Crushed. Sadness. Disappointment. This is the reality of the magnitude of what we’re all facing: a cancelled race. I totally 100% understand, and support, the tough decisions of the Race Directors. (RD’s) These RD’s had agonizing meetings, knowing that their decisions would upset someone. I know several RD’s, and these decision have brought some of them to literal tears.

Did you know that RD’s love watching you cross the finish line and accomplishing your goals? They love seeing your arms in the air. The tears on your cheeks. The sound of, “Don’t Stop Believing” blasting through the speakers. They love your creative signs. The Dad’s, and kids, cheering for Mom. The Fiance’ screaming, “You’re almost there babe!”. Or, a spouse wearing a, “Cancer couldn’t stop you, either can the finish line” homemade t-shirt.

In the scope of it all, a race being cancelled is not the end of the world. It might feel like it, but there are families dealing with tougher things, including this COVID-19 virus. But now what? What about all of the training? How do we re-calculate what we’ve been doing? And, what do we do with ‘the lack of motivation to reach a race goal that no longer exists”?

Here are a few suggestions for you.

  1. Adjust your training. There is NOTHING wrong with getting out there for a few miles. In fact, it will even help you mentally in this time of being “distanced”. No, you don’t need to keep adding more and more mileage every week, but, I like to ‘stay in the ballpark’ of double digit runs every week. The last 2 weeks, I have done 10 mile runs, solo (I swear, every solo long run should count for more!) in addition to my daily runs of 3-5 miles. Could I add mileage? Yes. Do I need too? NO! I’m keeping on top of what I have already established.
  2. Back it down. This is a tough one. You have worked so hard, that backing it down can feel like you’re giving up, right? WRONG! If your race has been postponed, just back it off for a few weeks, and then pick up the hard things again. If you’ve come this far, don’t completely shut it down, but just back off the hard, regimented training.
  3. Don’t change a thing! Do you realize that when this, “quarantine thing” is lifted, races will again be scheduled? Just think of how ready you will be? You will have a new love for what you’ve been training for. And, I bet you will absolutely CRUSH your original goal.

Health is our biggest thing right now. Fighting the virus, while maintaining distancing, is extremely important. But, it’s still recommended to get exercise and fresh air. Hey, even the dreaded treadmill can become a new BFF. Just be smart in the process.

The good news is that Gazelle Girl is STILL offering a Virtual Race. How cool! So, keep training, and join one of the greatest races I have ever been part of, and seen in action. You can get more info here. The Amway River Bank Run, and Rivertown Races have been postponed. Trust me, you will again hear the crowds. You will again see the signs. You will again hear Journey sing, “born and raised in South Detroit“.

I have a challenge for you. Today, let’s flood the pages, and inboxes of our RD’s with LOVE! Show them you respect them, and their tough decisions. Being a RD is not glamorous. And, I know, each of them didn’t sign up for it expecting a pandemic to arise. Join me in spreading a message of love and support to each of them.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Adjust your training. Never stop encouraging. Always run by faith!

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