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  • Roy Belzer IV

My Race Was Canceled, I Ran It Anyway

As is no surprise to anyone anymore, more and more events are being cancelled with the advancement of COVID-19. Races are by no means an exception to this rule. This being said, it means nothing good for the 16 races that I had intended to do this year…


The first of these races that I had scheduled and trained for was the Love Run Half Marathon in my current city, Philadelphia. This race was supposed to happen this last Sunday morning, but it was pushed back to October for the safety of everyone involved.


I was devastated when I heard that the race that I had spent months training for got pushed so far away. I understood and respected why, but I still needed a minute to mourn all of the training that I had done that was all but wasted time at this point.


It wasn’t long after the announcement of this postponement that the other bad news about races started rolling in. One after another I was getting emails and phone calls about the races I’d signed up for being cancelled or postponed until a later date. I felt myself losing all of my motivation to continue running slipping away with every new email I received.


With no races coming up any time soon I decided to put running on the back burner for a while and focus on writing and doing fitness videos for my clients instead and utilizing that as my main workout for a while. This had me content for the first couple weeks of quarantine. Then came the day of the first race.


A day that I had looked forward to, but I was now dreading. I was so sad when I woke up and had absolutely nothing on my schedule for the day. Nothing to look forward to. No race. No medal. No after party with my friends. Nothing.


I got up and had my coffee, watched the news, and had a conversation with a good friend of mine. A conversation that turned my whole day around. Something he said hadn’t occurred to me yet. “Why don’t you run the length of the race today anyway? You trained for it and were looking forward to it. Get out there and do it!” He was right! I hadn’t thought to just run it on my own!


So, that’s just what I did. I put on my running shoes, set up my GPS tracking app on my phone and my Apple Watch, and I hit the pavement. Newly determined to run this Half Marathon.


Excited to get started, I began running the same path that I had ran for all of my training. I knew that this wasn’t going to be enough though. The longest that I had ran before this in Philly was 8 miles! I needed a good deal more to make it to the 13.1 miles that I was about to run, so I decided that this was a great opportunity to explore parts of the city that I didn’t really have a chance to get to yet!


My run took me to some really cute historical places as well as a few new tourist traps that were still fun to see. Especially while on such a long and arduous run.




At mile number 4 I ran past one of my favorite museums here, the Franklin Institute. Anyone that knows me well knows that I am a HUGE science and industry nerd!


Mile 5 brought me to Love Park in Center City. It only felt fitting that I would take a picture here because I was supposed to be running the Love Run. And with the self-distancing orders in place, there fortunately weren’t many people out and about getting in my way during my run.



The last place I stopped to take a photo was by the river while I was on my final stretch of my race. I absolutely love running by the water. It is so serene and peaceful. A really great way to experience nature while stuck in the city.



With only a couple miles left on my run I ran into an issue that I was not anticipating, a wall. A wave of fatigue that just destroyed me out of nowhere. I only had three miles left! I was not willing to give up yet. I HAD to finish this race!


I had to run in blocks, stopping to walk occasionally so that my body could recover just enough for me to run another couple of blocks. I wanted to run the entire thing, but that just wasn’t an option anymore. I had to do what I could to push myself through.


Persevering to the very end, I pushed and pushed. I pushed myself all the way until I hit that last little .1 miles. But I made it! So incredibly filled with emotions, almost to the point of tears, I just collapsed on my stoop at home for a minute, reliving everything I just made happen.


I woke up thinking I had an empty schedule for the day, but I was more wrong than I ever could be about that.

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