In March 2020, the first announcement about shelter-in-place restrictions included a cover photo from the Shamrock Race. With large groups banned, and more requirements added in the following weeks, my spring race schedule disappeared. The ultra that I had spent months training for was gone. The miles on Sauvie Island, Terwilliger, and even Naito Parkway weren’t going to happen. And I’d have to buy my own bagels and bananas this year.
I understood the science and needed everyone to stay home and stay safe.
And very loud, and a little bit whiny, voice in my head also wanted my races.
Apparently I was not the only runner who wanted some motivation to get out of the house this spring. The team behind Run The Edge shared the word that while events were canceled, running was not. And a lot of other things were not canceled either.
And that awareness brings us to The Un-Canceled Project. This three-month adventure was totally free and encouraged participants to focus on all the things that are not canceled by COVID-19, including: gratitude, hope, humor, inspiration, courage, commitment, dreams, kindness, joy, community, perseverance, life. Each week had a theme and participants were encouraged to complete multiple race distances this week to earn virtual bibs with the theme.
MAY 18TH-24TH: KINDNESS UN-CANCELED
* Wear something light blue or red the day of your virtual race.
* This week, focus on kindness and sincerity. Send kind messages to friends and strangers, leave kind comments, wave at passing cars, thank frontline workers, or anything you can think of to be extra kind.
* During your race, focus on how much more rewarding kindness feels over criticism. Post the bib you earn along with your favorite act of kindness.
Miles could be run or walked. While the miles were added to a tracker, the times were not. So, a 3.1-mile stroll was just as great as a 3.1-mile PR. And there were lots of distances to choose from: 5K, 8K, 10K, half marathon, 15K, marathon, or ultra. Most of my bibs were for 10K distances I aim for at the end of the week. I saw other participants in the Facebook group who completed multiple races every week to have a calendar full of un-canceled-ness.
The event team added shirts and medals as available for purchase, but the event itself remained free throughout the duration. I chose the medal to have the list of un-canceled qualities to remember as my summer and fall race schedules look more and more iffy.
Races might be canceled. But by making good, creative, and kind choices the running community remains un-canceled.