Running means different things to different people. For me, I love my body’s ability to simply cover ground, getting out in nature and the sense of accomplishment this brings. Running really is a celebration of life, as well as an extension of health. This celebration is often best when shared with others. I miss the long run conversations, sharing my favorite trails with friends, and an actual high five of “we did that” at the end of a good run.
At this time last year, the TRL board suspended all group runs in accordance with the Oregon Health Authority’s guidelines. Many of my favorite trails were closed to discourage crowding, and we were reading about fellow British runners with strict quarantine rules who trained and ran a marathon in their own back yard! We runners are adaptable, and running was never canceled! In fact, the pandemic has created a bit of a running boom. Those who could not go to their gym, yoga class or club sports found the beauty and simplicity of putting on running shoes and just heading out the door. Maybe 2021 will see a boom in new members joining TRL!
Here we are a year later… while we know much more about this virus than we did, the guidance is still ever-changing. Trails are (for the most part) back open. Running with masks and buffs is the norm and people are adapting to creating passing space without panic on sidewalks and paths. Vaccines are getting into arms and, although the tunnel has been long, I do see the light at the end.
The board is cautiously optimistic that the return of sanctioned TRL runs is around the corner. Many of our members have already received their vaccines and with a timeline of May for others, I am hopeful the Portland metro area will begin seeing the benefit of herd immunity and the return to normalcy. Still much is unknown. Will we see a Spring Break spike, or have we learned the precautions to keep our community healthy?
We are all looking forward to the eventual return of group runs and racing. Wheels are turning as more race directors are announcing events for the summer months. Plans are progressing for a Summer Series with a combination of in-person racing and Strava segments. Permits are in process for an in-person fall Stumptown XC series. And we anticipate welcoming back group runs with membership appreciation events and developing new group runs for a variety of paces. Although this is all in the future (hopefully near future) keep in mind running is in no way canceled. We encourage you to reach out to friends you are comfortable running safely with, or enjoy some miles of solitude. Just continue putting one foot in front of the other and enjoying where your feet and health take you!