Sunday, March 15, 2020

Coronavirus And Running

My patient who saw me yesterday was complaining that the Boston Marathon originally scheduled on 20th April next month has been postponed to 19th September. She had also planned to run Berlin originally, but with the change in dates that may not pan out.

This is the first time in the race's 124 year history that the race will not take place in April. Other than the Boston marathon, new reports of other international race cancellations are coming in on a regular basis.

In sunny Singapore, The Sunday Times today reported that the Sundown Marathon on May 23rd has been cancelled. This race had 23,000 runners last year. Other local postponed races this year includes next month's JP Morgan Corporate Challenge and the 2XU Compression Run (picture above).

I can understand how runners are disappointed that all their training may have come to waste. After all the sacrifices, preparation and training done, it must be terrible not to be able to race.

The Singapore government has rolled out "social distancing" guidelines to further limit the spread of COVID-19. As many of my patients who run have commented, running is the optimal sport now since everyone is encouraged to avoid crowded, enclosed spaces whenever possible. All of us who run or cycle alone sometimes are already practicing a form of "social distancing" unprompted.

Of course we are not running away from others when we go running alone. We run or cycle alone to preserve our sanity, to analyze and solve problems that crop up.

With so many races in limbo, some of you may question why you train hard when there seems to be nothing to train for. To run hard means to subject yourself voluntarily to varying degrees of discomfort. And pushing yourself hard in a workout means you're resisting the urge to stop.

Yes, because of the coronavirus, many races have been and will be cancelled. But we have other reasons to run, we can run for the satisfaction that comes from confirming our resilience to no one else but ourselves, our ability to endure, to not stop.

I don't race anymore, but I'm definitely still running to get my adrenaline rush.

If you have to self quarantine and cannot go out for a run, maybe you can try emulating Pan Shancu who ran 6,250 laps around two large tables set up inside his apartment. One lap around the tables measured about 8 meters and he ran 50 km in 4:48:44 hours!!

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