As many of you know from reading past sport eyewear issues, I’m 20/20’s resident runner who proudly wears her Oakley sport sunglasses while running. In March 2020, I was training for the NYC Half Marathon when I received word from New York Road Runners (NYRR) that the race was cancelled due to rising cases of Covid-19. I was disappointed, but I knew it was necessary. What I didn’t know was that it would be nearly two years before I was able to participate in road races again. For the rest of that year, all the races I signed up for including the full NYC Marathon went on to be cancelled. But that didn’t stop me from running—even with our city in lockdown mode, I made sure to get outside and keep running.
Since outdoor activities were deemed safe with proper social distancing, I was thankful that I was still able to run, especially since I was never a fan of running on treadmills indoors. At a time when our worlds were turned upside down, being able to still do what I loved was a saving grace. One of NYRR’s mottos when I first started racing was “Run for Life.” These words always stuck by me and couldn’t have resonated more during this time of despair for so many who lost loved ones.
With in-person races not viable during this time, I began running virtual races. These races allowed you to “race” anywhere in the world with your distance and time tracked by your own GPS enabled device. It certainly wasn’t the same experience as in-person races, but it still provided a sense of accomplishment while also challenging me to stay on my run game. Last fall, I even took part in the virtual Boston Marathon when a virtual option was offered for the first time. It was by far the most challenging race of my life—running 26.2 miles by yourself with no race amenities or spectators cheering you on was quite lonely and taxing, especially during the last 6 miles when during any marathon, you start to question why you subject your body (and mind) to this. It took me much longer than my average marathon time, but I finished. And when I received that coveted unicorn Boston Marathon medal in the mail, I beamed with pride.
I’m happy to report that in 2022, in-person races have reopened at full capacity, and my race calendar has filled up again. I’m slated to run my sixth NYC Marathon this fall, and I’ll be crying happy tears when once again, I’m racing through the streets of NYC to the tune of thousands of spectators cheering me on.