Running in the pandemic



Running in the pandemic


Running has always been a constant in my life that keeps me moving. While parts of it have been negated, I have kept moving forward, finally seeing some normalcy. Before COVID-19 hit I was set to run the Eau Claire Marathon, compete in a triathlon (1/3rd running so it counts), and later in the fall the Chicago marathon. All of this was a culmination of hard work and endurance. Being able to say you have done these things is an accomplishment. Everything seemed so clear almost a year ago.
When COVID-19 hit and really rammed up with case numbers rising all my races were canceled. While this was devastating for me it made sense. But all my training seemed to be going to waste. My efforts decreased and a sense of dread overcame me. Yet during the pandemic running and physical exercise has increased significantly. Mentions of Pelotons or buying more work out clothes has become more frequent. Many of my friends have asked for tips and advice on running.
Yet for someone who enjoys competition and comradery, it has been hard. Competition is something I have always enjoy. I think people perform best when they have the right amount of pressure. So, when I heard from my club advisor that there was an in-person race in Eau Claire I signed up. Training for the race felt much more motivating.
The race (bridge 2 bridge) was sectioned into two-, five-, and ten-mile races set over the weekend of May 1st and 2nd. I ran the ten-mile race. Runners had different waves and were started two at a time. My race started around 8:25 AM and I finished the race over an hour (7:18 per mile). It was great finally being able to pace with people and feel the adrenaline rush of seeing the finish line.
Yet something researchers can see from this is the increase in running. Apps like Strava have seen an increase in users and activities. Looking at my race award and data you can look at overarching data. COVID-19 has given people lots of free time to do other things. Health is usually something that people give up when they work a lot or have less time. This especially makes sense for cardiovascular exercises as a lot of people would rather lift for muscle. Yet with gyms having been closed during the start of the pandemic many turned to run.
Some will continue to stick with running, and some will drop off. Dr. Evans (my club advisor) at the start of the race was getting everyone to calm their nerves and told a story. Someone who had started running over the pandemic had never done a race before and this was going to be their first in-person race. For me personally, I have the grandma’s marathon this summer in person to which I am looking forward to. Although my training makes increases and decrease, I can say for me personally I will keep on moving.


May 5, 2021


Eau Claire, Wis. 54703


Jack Stewart




Health and medicine

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