Well, what CAN one say about these challenging times of COVID that hasn’t already been said.  Schools and work sites have been shut down, many are out of work, masks and social distancing are the rule and we are staying at home limiting contact to only our close family and friends. All this has also created a high level of stress and anxiety for many of us. On the positive side though, Rochester (so far) has not been hit as hard as many areas. Not to downplay those who have lost family members and friends and the many who are out of work and struggling financially and socially, but our medical systems have not so far been overwhelmed, perhaps because we HAVE practiced aggressive social distancing. In a few weeks we are therefore looking forward to some possible relaxing of restrictions. Though I can be accused of being a “glass half full” person, things in our area compared to elsewhere could in fact be worse. But although we all want a quick return to “normal” it will be a slow process with unquestionably some social restrictions going forward.

In the meantime, I DO think it is remarkable how quickly running has adapted in just the last month. Though it has taken accommodation, running has moved to the virtual world. All three major stores and multiple independent races have offered virtual options when in person events have been cancelled. GRTC just completed a virtual option of the popular Mind the Ducks Ultra race (complete with snow squalls!). A variety of virtual non-race running activities have also sprung up to keep us active and out on the road. Communication with other runners via social media is at an all time high. Most importantly, running itself goes on. Runners are still out there (maybe more than before with forced time off) either solo or in small clusters. And with the weather about to warm up, being out on the road may be an important stress reliever for many of us.

The below events are going on right now with each of the stores and more will continue to be coming. As a group representing all runners in the area, GRTC would encourage you to visit our Facebook page for information and communication and the running stores respective websites and Facebook pages for upcoming virtual events. All three major stores also remain available for on line purchases of all your running needs. In spite of a regional and nationwide “lockdown” we runners are a resilient lot and have “found a way.”

ROCHESTER RUNNING COMPANY:  An ongoing 24 hour community relay keeping runners on the road continuously as long as people support it. THIS HAS NOW GONE ON CONTINUOUSLY FOR ONE MONTH. GREAT JOB RUNNERS! CLOSING IN ON 3,000 MILES LOGGED! Sign up for ½ hour slots to run on your own and log in miles (at any pace) on their website. Report your accomplishments on RRC Facebook page. Yes, I did a 2:30 to 3:30 am slot myself on the treadmill. Interesting what CNN has on that hour. Please log in and sign up for a slot. www.rochesterrunning.com

MEDVED RUNNING AND FITNESS: Sponsored last month a virtual “photo scavenger hunt challenge” to find and submit pictures of specific things to find on your runs, then post to their Facebook page. Sponsored distance challenges and last week a M.O.M. challenge for mothers day. This weekend (5/16 to 5/17) sponsoring their free “Spring Spirit Run.” Set up your own 5K or 10K virtual course and send in pictures of your run, homemade shirts, bibs and swag to get a finishers certificate. Log in to see what they have going on. www.medvedrunwalk.com

FLEET FEET SPORTS: “Spring cleanup” virtual races were completed. A “spring chase” virtual fitness program over multiple weeks now available to build skills and keep in shape. Details on their website and Facebook page.

Also, for those many GRTC members who look forward to the GRTC mileage patches at the end of the year, GRTC will honor miles done in a virtual race. You can submit these as usual. We do require that the miles be obtained in an organized virtual race (not just running on one’s own) where the distance has been reported and can be obtained on the sponsors website. Only total miles run can be reported even if those same miles might have been used in/reported to two separate virtual races/events.

Importantly, we ARE going to come out of this and get back to enjoying our sport and events. It is hard to say how soon, but we are hoping to see “real” races return hopefully in the summer and certainly by the fall. GRTC is looking forward to “rebooting” the RROY series races, the Ultra Series including (possibly) the Candlelight 12 and (probably) CanLake50, a rescheduled GRTC Track Clinic and of course the Freezeroo. In the meantime, don’t slack off on your training and enthusiasm. Take advantage of all the virtual options available and of the social media ways to keep in contact. Enjoy the summer weather and know that we will get through this and back to normal (or at least some “new normal”). And as always, if you want to continue to have opportunities for running in the Rochester region, come join (or renew your membership in) GRTC. We have a place for you.  A modest $20 yearly membership goes a long way to keeping our sport vibrant and maintaining running events and opportunities for all.  See you out on the road (6 feet away)

Doug Jones
President GRTC

Renew GRTC Membership: https://runsignup.com/Club/NY/Rochester/GreaterRochesterTrackClub