What runners are already beginning to miss, a View from Kenya


IMG_1751.JPGTraining alone, photo by Justin Lagat

Our friend, Justin Lagat, is also the senior writer for @runblogrun in Kenya. Justin gives us a revealing view of Kenyan athletics each week, and now is a unique time. The age of the coronavirus is a global phenomenon, and Justin provides us with a view into the challenges in his homeland.

'You never miss the water till the well runs dry' was one famous phrase that used to earn me marks while writing essays in my early days in school. All along, as runners, we had been taking so many things for granted until the coronavirus suddenly hit us and everything came to a standstill. Now, we are all wishing we could quickly get back to our daily living and running.'

Interestingly, reports indicate that more people have now been introduced to recreational running during these hard times when so little is going on elsewhere.

Below is what most runners are already beginning to miss

1. Running races

There is a lot of fun on race days. For many runners, it is a time to measure the effectiveness of the training they had been doing, to conquer a new distance, to run their personal best times, to collect more finishers' medals, to socialize with other runners, to make a positive impact in the society by running towards good causes, and so many others.

So many runners were looking forward to races that have either now been canceled or postponed.

2. Watching the world major races and competitions.

The world half marathon championships were to be held on 29th March and so many fans were looking forward to a clash between Geoffrey Kamworor and Joshua Cheptegei, among others, but the championships have been postponed to October.

This month, both the London and the Boston marathons would have been taking place and there would now be so much talk on the internet about the start lists and what we would be expecting. Would Kenenisa Bekele have beaten Eliud Kipchoge at the London Marathon?

3. Training in large groups.

Due to social distancing directives that have been issued in an effort to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus, runners have been discouraged from training in groups of more than two runners. The joy of hanging on the "exhaust pipe" in a training group and gradually moving up to the "front cabin" is no longer possible.

4. Training with definite plans.

The main motivation for most runners to run is an upcoming race. There are usually stages of training that aim to put the runners in their peak form close to their race dates.

For now, most of the runners are just training to keep physically fit and to be able to take a shorter time coming back to good form once they are assured of upcoming races.

5. Traveling

Among the people who travel the most in this world are sportspeople, especially runners. Races continue to be canceled or postponed at the moment besides different nations suspending international flights landing in their territories.

6. Track intervals and workouts

Most of the public facilities and learning institutions have been closed. Many runners relied on these facilities for their track training and they cannot find any alternatives to do their track workouts.

7. Income

There are runners who rely on their running to provide for their families. It may take a while for the big stars to feel the effects of the pandemic, but for the smaller stars who earn little from some smaller races which are just enough to sustain their living until they get invited to the next race, they are already feeling the effects.

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