Cancelled Races: Enduring Perspectives

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Race cancelled or postponed? Here at AtoZrunning we are grieving with all of you who have poured effort and time training for events that have been cancelled due to the Coronavirus. All the work and preparation you’ve dedicated may not be realized in a race this season, but we are hoping you can find enduring perspectives. That’s why we’re writing this–to be encouragement for disappointed runners moving forward.

Since races large and small across the globe have been postponed or cancelled, we reached out to competitors who are no longer racing their target races when scheduled. We’ve included marathoners and top-level NCAA track stars. May their perspectives inspire and encourage during this difficult time.

The Process

In these uncertain times, some of us find our struggles with anxiety (read more here) getting worse. Throughout the ages, wisdom suggests that letting go begins with identifying those things we cannot control. Have you made this part of your process?

Photo Credit: BYU, Courtesy of Talem Franco

We reached out to track star, Talem Franco, who reveals his enduring strategy moving forward. Talem Franco‘s senior season abruptly ended before his opportunity to compete at the NCAA D1 Indoor Track and Field Championships (read about that decision here). Franco ran a sub-4 mile this season and was the 800m champion at the 2020 MPSF Indoor Track & Field Championships. Obviously one to watch this season, his exploration of potential isn’t over. Keep watching his career. Talem tells us,

Photo credit: BYU, Courtesy of Talem Franco

“Throughout my running career, one of the things that catalyzed my progress and improvement was focusing on what I could control. This helped me especially when things were uncertain and bleak while I was injured or dealing with other hardships.”
-Talem Franco

Talem is setting his eyes ahead with hope in the future as he looks toward qualifying for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials on the track. While focusing on what he can control, he won’t let the fire of desire go out. His process of letting go is reaching ahead, and we look forward to following where Talem is going!

The Dreams

NCAA track star Katie Izzo is far from done chasing dreams. Katie is no stranger to overcoming adversity. Her tibia and fibula both snapped during a race in 2016 which led to a titanium rod helping to reform the leg.

Photo Credit: Arkansas Track and Field, Courtesy of Katie Izzo

Since that time, Katie has presented herself as not only one of the best NCAA 5k runners, but also one of the best American distance runners. This season, Katie ran a personal best time of 15:13.09 qualifying her for the the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 5k. In these current challenging times, Katie brings her limitless attitude. Although she laments the devastating affects of the Coronavirus, and the once in a lifetime opportunity taken away from athletes around the world, she presses on with an enduring perspective. Katie identifies gratitude as part of her continuous pursuit of excellence and her future goals,

“We can’t forget to be grateful for all that we have… being alive, our health, family, friends, the little things in life that make us smile. For us runners, let us be grateful for a sport that has brought us the most amazing friendships, opportunities, and experiences. I’m not done chasing my dreams and I know the best is yet to come.”
– Katie Izzo

As we navigate our disappoint, reflecting on what the sport and the running community has given us that can help us move forward chasing our dreams in gratitude.

The Motivation

Courtesy of Christophe Devers

With so much unknown, we can only set ourselves up for our future races and goals with a positive outlook and proper planning.
Christophe Devers of Kasterlee, Belgium was planning to run the Rotterdam Marathon. He tells us that he will be focusing on the next race he has on the schedule. Devers reflects,

When your race is cancelled you’re allowed to be disappointed but you have to change the disappointment into motivation. When you can keep going you will only benefit from it in your future races!”
-Christophe Devers

The disappointment is real. It will be felt, sometimes very deeply. It’s a kind of grief. Amy Mangueira of Chicago, IL was planning to run Tokyo Marathon. Three days before departure, her dream vacation and goal race was put on hold. Amy shares,

Yes, I am human and I have grieved. I have been sad and it is ok.”
-Amy Manueria

Courtesy of Amy Manueria

Amy has a goal of completing all the world majors. In addition to Tokyo, she was scheduled for London, which has also been postponed to the fall.

Amy goes on to give some really great actionable objectives.

  • Continuing to grow upon great fitness.
  • Strengthening weaknesses and imbalances. “Now I get a chance to slow down and focus on them.”
  • Running for fun. “I have been in a ‘business’ mode for so long that I have not been able to enjoy running in a bit.”
  • Testing fitness. “Get out there. Shoot for your goal. And instead of a medal, treat yourself to something AWESOME!”

The Game Plan

Ron Romano scaling Heart Break Hill, Photo Credit: @johntrannyc

Like Amy, our next athlete reinforces the strong game plan of focusing on getting stronger and working on weaknesses. Ron Romano from NYC ran all 6 majors in 2019 at a 3:15:00 marathon average. From his extensive race history, you know that racing events pump in his life blood. This is Ron’s game plan for moving forward,

“It’s ok to grieve and be upset about a missed opportunity, but you gotta bounce back strong. Move forward. With no racing on anyone’s dance card for the foreseeable future, work on your mental game. Work on speed. Work on your weaknesses. Run time trials. We need goals, so create some short terms and chart your course.
-Ron Romano

Did you catch that? Ron tells us to, “Move forward.” The only way through it. Enduring perspectives keep us running toward long term goals through incremental progress.

The “Why?”

Courtesy of Bekah Eljoundi

Losing upcoming race opportunities has forced many to grapple with the question, “why do we run?” For many of us, we are energized by getting back to the core of our love for the sport.

Bekah Eljoundi from North Carolina was planning on running her 20th marathon at the Boston Marathon. Bekah beautifully articulates what motivates her to run with these enduring perspectives,

We run because we can, not because we have to. Yes it’s great to have a race or end goal, but it’s really the training runs with good friends, the speed workouts where you leave feeling so accomplished.
And the realization of what your body is truly capable of that makes running so worth it.
– Bekah Eljoundi

Heather Young, Photo Credit: @sethprofet

One of the reasons many of us run is to be the healthiest and strongest versions of ourselves. Heather Young from Canada is the world record holder of the fastest time to hula hoop a 10k. She’s also a speedy runner without the hoop as well and was aiming to clock a sub-3 hour marathon in Boston. Heather reflects,

“My decision to stop drinking alcohol and focus on healthier food choices was not for nothing. I am a stronger, healthier version of myself with or without the Boston Marathon.
-Heather Young

Heather also tells us, “Every long run, every track session, every tempo run is not wasted.” When fitness is gained, barriers are broken, and mindset is practiced you have a lot to be proud of. Getting back to the “why” can help shape our motivation moving forward.

Courtesy of Ray Rodriguez

Ray Rodriguez also finds motivation in striving to be the best he can be. Ray was planning to run Boston this spring. With it’s postponement, he processes and shares his advice,

“Staying positive is key to maintaining good health in a time like this. It’s a blessing to be able to run and be active so I will continue to press on because running isn’t all about winning and losing. It’s about striving to be the best you can be. That resonates in all aspects of our lives.”
-Ray Rodriguez

The Community

Please join us in supporting one another! Subscribe to stay connected and stay motivated. Feel free to comment below with your enduring perspectives. Let’s lift each other up in community. And those who are subscribed can anticipate near-future posts about what to do with your training to adjust to unplanned interruptions.

Have you listened to our podcast? Check out our latest A to Z Running episode with “Hang in there!” stories from U.S. Olympic Trials Marathoners. We all are looking for inspiration these days, and we’ve found some for you!

2 replies
  1. Suzanne Fedewa
    Suzanne Fedewa says:

    I enjoyed the “Hang in There” podcast, especially the story of my cousin at the Detroit Marathon! Great Blog here with encouragement to help us navigate these disappointments with cancellations and disruptions to our plans!

    • admin
      admin says:

      Thank you! I loved that story about your cousin. I am so grateful to a community that comes together during difficult times!

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