Racing During a Pandemic

2020 took a swift downturn as people around the world became ill with what later became known as COVID19. Businesses closed, travel slowed and ended, and hospitals filled while first responders worked 24/7. Many were isolated in their homes and had little to no interaction with the outside world.

For those who enjoy exercising or train for races, it forced creativity. Some had treadmills, indoor bicycles, and/or other equipment to workout from home but many do not. Many races were moved to the virtual world, postponed, deferred, or cancelled. A few actually happened in-person but those were few and far between!

Ironman and Rock n’ Roll created virtual opportunities for runners and triathletes alike to keep moving and said that “anything is possible” which was true. The Ironman distances ranged from SuperSprint to Ironman distances and allowed competitors to do the distances over a weekend. I learned quickly to check out the weather to determine which days/times I would do each component. One didn’t necessarily need to do all 3 parts in order or even in the same day. This was helpful to work around any crazy weather that may pop up. Throughout the summer, I was able to complete 5 Sprint and 5 Olympic distances.

VR1.5K run20K bike5k RunTotal
Ironman VR Sprint Duathlon

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Ironman VR Olympic Duathlon

In addition to virtual triathlons, there were many opportunities for virtual running races! Each weekend, Rock n’ Roll hosted various distances for runners and walkers to choose from. These allowed for individuals to get outside and socially distance or use a treadmill at their home. I even saw a video of a runner using his balcony to get some miles in. Outside of Rock n’ Roll, many races that were scheduled for in-person for 2020 moved virtual. I completed multiple of these types of races. This included races ranging from 1 mile to 13.1 miles and everything in between. With these types of races, you create your own route and are responsible for your own hydration and nutrition. I often had a bottle of Nuun in hand, and Honey Stinger chews in my pocket. It forced many of us to be creative in where and how they walked or ran. Sometimes, I even ran with my race bib! Those I passed wished good luck and neighbors asked for more information.

Virtual races saved many athletes during 2020. It allowed us to have something to work towards, to train for, and to keep us moving in a world that cancelled mostly everything around us. There were ways to socially distance and keep in shape at the same time. What was your most creative way to keep moving in 2020?

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