If you’re reading this, chances are you had a race cancelled this summer. Or, you’re still anxiously waiting to hear if it’ll happen.
Embrace the gloom of that disappointment. But then make another goal. If we’re healthy and able, let’s continue running.
We should run for the loved ones we’ve lost to the coronavirus, like my friend’s grandmother, and to the loves ones we’ve lost to white supremacy, like Ahmaud Arbery.
A lot of us are experiencing emotions unlike anything we’ve ever felt before. So, let’s continue to run. It’s for more than fitness and racing. It’s mental stability. And beyond that, running can improve us and our communities.
I get that it’s hard to plan a summer filled without group runs. I miss chatting with friends and strangers about topics that transcend running. So much of the beauty of running for me is learning from a stranger about what her hobbies are, what she does for work, where she’s from, what her opinions are on current events. I love learning from people different than me, but also celebrating that we all love to run.
For now, we must suspend the former reality of weekends filled with races and group gatherings. But we can still run solo or with small groups, depending on where we live. We can still use running as a tool to better ourselves.
In lieu of racing Western States this year, I’ve renewed general commitments and made backyard running goals. If I follow through on these goals, I think the payoff will be much greater than finishing any race. I hope this inspires you to make your own goals.
1. I will run a challenging route from my house that I would normally drive to, but instead bike to the trailhead. I might go for an FKT or two, as well.
2. I will learn about the Indigenous history of my home.
In Boulder, we have rich Southern Arapaho, Cheyenne and Ute history. I recommend starting with native-land.ca. From there, you can research history about Indigenous Americans who lived and still live where you do.
3. I will learn about the geology of my home.
Did you know Boulder used to be a beach? 100 million years ago in the Cretaceous Period, waves lapped against what are now the Flatirons.
4. I will look at more maps.
From Strava Routes to Gaia GPS to Caltopo, there are lots of digital options. The latter two are usually better in rural areas.
5. I will be actively anti-racist.
I'm reading about my implicit biases, educating myself on past history and having conversations about the importance of being anti-racist. I smile at all people, especially people who don’t look like me. I follow runners on social media that come from different backgrounds and have different perspectives than my own. I condemn racist comments. I will make more space for others. I will ask more questions. I will listen more.
6. I will tune in to my local parks and open space management.
I’ve bookmarked Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks and followed their social channels. If we love to run, we should use our experience as a way to give back and improve open space management plans. I believe management plans should highlight inclusion of underrepresented communities. I believe plans should encourage pedestrian and bike traffic versus vehicular traffic, especially as coronavirus has more people exercising on roads. I commit to emailing my local open space committee, to fill out surveys, and to stay engaged, especially as we near election season. I commit to voting for people who represent my values.
7. I will perform trail maintenance when it’s allowed, and I will clean up the street in front of my home.
Join me! What are your new goals?
Photo: Bryson Malone