Hey, flip your camera to selfie mode or go look in the mirror and give yourself a high five, you deserve it. But if you’re looking for something a little grander than a self induced high five, how about a pat on the back from a few around the community at a physical finish line of a local trail race. Community and local trail races are proving to be a key proponent for battling through the ongoing saga of the COVID era as the races give a reason to train, to get outside, and to cross a 3D finish line in this new virtual world we’re all living in.
A Light at the End of the Tunnel
All the days and weeks are continuing to blur together and can you believe that in less than 4 months we’ll be saying hello to 2021?!?! But to give your week somewhat of a purpose and direction, training for the local events can give some much needed structure to your life. Signing up for a local race, the distance is not too important, is going to be monumental for your well-being. Pending if you’ve been running or this is an off the couch race, you’re going to need at the very least a few weeks of dedicated training to ensure you’re not crawling across the finish line. But more importantly with a race day on the calendar, each day should have time devoted to getting some exercise with an end goal in sight. The satisfaction of a goal oriented daily run will do wonders for the psyche and as the training continues, it will prove to be steps and miles towards a new day.
If you were a social butterfly before this pandemic nestled in for the long haul surely you’ve been struggling with all this time at home… solo or with the family. The smaller oriented community races are a great way to connect with new and old friends that have been looking for an excuse to get out and interact with humans, even from behind a mask and safely at 6 ft of separation. Whether it be 10 - 20 folks that have gathered for a race or even if the numbers reach near 50 runners, the trails should provide more space for you to take stride and ultimately provide a safer racing environment for everyone. Yes, the big races with hundreds to thousands of runners are a nod to a serious accomplishment and a token bumper sticker, but the way the world is operating right now - smaller is better. And the whole point of a local community race is to see familiar faces and reconnect with those whom you haven’t seen a while. It feels good to talk to others, even it’s just a quick 30 second conversation, human interaction is good for the soul.
Not that screen time wasn’t a problem before all Zoom meetings started, outside and away from the daily grind is all too important right now. And with an upcoming race, putting rubber to the pavement and/or dirt unleashes a surplus of mental and physical benefits. The simple act of being in the outdoors boosts your energy. The fresh air provides FREE aromatherapy and a daily dose of vitamin D. And given times, miles out on the trail and outside will restore focus and act as a reset button. The local trail races are a great excuse to get outside to find that centering point and bring peace and sanity back to life.
Safer for Everyone
Smaller fields, the outdoors, and away from the masses all play to the wonders of a smaller oriented community race. There will be familiar faces, there will be the great outdoors to breath in uncirculated air, and while many races will require masks at the start and finish, once you’re out on the trail it’s nothing but grinding out miles… away from it all. And while the idea of group gatherings is a bit of a taboo, being around people is good for the soul. So, pre or post race, if there is an opportunity to conversate with some fellow competitors, take it, it may be some time before you have an opportunity to interact with real life humans outside your quarantine circle. Take the opportunity of signing up for a local trail race as the excuse to escape the confines of your home/office, a much needed break from mundane reality of the times, to share a smile with others, and embrace the love with and from the trail running community.
Feature photo credit: James Holk Photography