Virtual Races Keep Runners Going // REI Co-op Journal

In-person events may be postponed for now, but runners are staying motivated and finding community online.

Last fall, Deena Kastor watched the weather as she prepared to tackle one of her most difficult marathons yet. Kastor, a 47-year-old American marathon record holder, sensed that this upcoming race, like everything else in the pandemic, would test her fortitude.Wildfire smoke had inundated her home in Mammoth Lakes, California, for the better part of the fall, and over nachos and beers one night, she and her husband Andrew, who is also her coach, checked the weather and air quality for the ideal window to run. They decided: She would run the next morning, circling a 1.1-mile loop around her home until she hit the virtual finish line at 26.2 miles to complete the Virtual TCS New York City Marathon.In a year of stay-at-home orders, canceled events and virtual races, little has been normal. But that race was one of the most rewarding for Kastor, who has been working from home and homeschooling her daughter at the same time. Her Mammoth Track Club team practices were canceled in March of last year and staying motivated to run without events on the calendar has been tough. “It has been a year that has challenged me more than any other year,” she says.

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