OK, so the Boston Marathon, like most all major sports events, has been canceled due to overwhelming and legitimate concerns about the COVID-19 outbreak. First time in 124 years. Following the lead of the Rome and Paris Marathons, which both postponed their events until next fall, Boston Marathon race organizers announced that they are aiming for a September 14 date. That’s five months from now.
“The B.A.A. understands the city’s decision that the Boston Marathon cannot be held on April 20, 2020,” race organizers said in a statement. “We offer our full support to take all reasonable efforts to postpone.”
So, what to do now? First off, stay healthy and wash your hands as many times a day as you can. According to medical authorities, runners who are training normally don’t have to worry any more than the average person, but runners who have just finished a long race— like a half marathon or marathon—are at a higher risk. They also point out that runners who are doing their normal training— that is not overtraining—generally have strong immune systems, an obvious benefit in this case.
David Nieman, Dr.PH., health professor at Appalachian State University and director of the Human Performance Lab at the North Carolina advises runners to “avoid long intense runs right now until we get through all this and just to kind of keep things under control. Don’t overdo it. Be worried more about health than fitness,” Nieman said in an article in Men’s Health.
Nieman cautions against long, depleting runs, because that’s what opens a short window for a weakened immune system.
While the Statesman Capitol 10,000 has not made an official announcement yet, it’s quite likely that it too, as well as other area races will be postponed or canceled.
What are runners to do? First off, enjoy the lighter training load, and make longer term plans for the fall. There are always plenty of other races to run, and your health is just too important. Keep training, but ease back on the long, hard runs, stay hydrated, avoid crowds and gatherings of people indoors, and follow the newly recommended hygiene rules in place for the COVID-19 virus.
In short, keep calm and carry on. Austin marathoner (and marathon pacer) Paul Carmona says it pretty well.
“This will be my 10th Boston,” he said “It will be different training through the summer instead of the winter and early spring for Boston, but I have trained through many Austin summers for races in September and October. As for dealing with the slight upheaval, I finished Boston the year of the bombings in 2013 and the cold, windy, rainy year in 2018. This is just another bump in the road to Beantown!”
Upcoming races: Due to the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, check with race organizers of any race you have planned to see if it is still on. Many are taking the prudent approach and postponing or canceling.