The response to COVID-19 has been wide reaching, affecting the lives of millions of Americans and shuttering businesses nationwide. The pandemic is affecting businesses in all sectors, and the running community is not exempt. D.C.-area specialty running stores are closing their sales floors, canceling events and working to find ways to virtually connect with patrons in an industry that thrives on face-to-face interactions.
Most specialty running stores rely on business in the spring to help set them up for a successful year. It’s when many runners hit the streets again and think of their apparel and footwear needs, said Potomac River Running Owner Ray Pugsley.
Most years his stores see an uptick in sales in March, and sales stay strong through the Marine Corps Marathon in October. However, the novel coronavirus has been a gut punch to his business and has him concerned about what the future could hold. Potomac River Running’s Virginia stores have reduced hours; the D.C. store closed last week after Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses.
“If businesses like us are shut down for two months, we can’t recover … It’s so grave I can’t even wrap my brain around it. I can’t even wrap my arms around how bad this can get so fast,” Pugsley said. “… As long as you’re selling stuff every day, it’s not a problem. But when you pull the sales out, everything stops. We can’t do anything; we’re paralized.”
Motivating high school runners is not always easy, even without a global health crisis going on. But with the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world, preventing kids from coming to school-sponsored organized practices or attending track meets, keeping high school runners motivated becomes an even greater challenge.
Anthony Belber, head track and field coach at the Georgetown Day School, anticipates that it will be weeks until the team can reunite in person, something he acknowledges is going to be difficult.
“[In not having our regular season], we are being tested at this moment in a way which might be far more substantial than in a championship meet. We are being asked to show just how strong we are,” he said.
This challenge becomes even harder for coaches in Virginia. Last week,On Monday it was announced that there will be no track and field season for the rest of the spring season in the state of Virginia. Maryland and D.C. schools and sports are on an open-ended suspension.
Gina DeGaetano is the head track and field coach at Riverside High School in Leesburg. She knows firsthand the difficulties that this announcement brings, but is trying to stay positive in light of the news.
“The news on Monday was not what any of us expected,” she said. “I hope we get back to track rather sooner than later. I miss it. I think it’s important to note that as much as the athletes miss it, we (the coaches) miss it too.”
Take a break from pounding the pavement and join us for the Glory Days Cross Country 5K! The starting gun goes off at 8:30 AM at Bull Run Regional Park Special Events Center. Pricing starts at $35 for early birds,
Name: Rachel Clark
Self-described age group: 27
Residence: Logan Circle, DC
Occupation: Digital consultant
Volunteer roles in the running world: The occasional volunteer shift at one of DC’s parkruns.
Why you run: It’s been hugely important in maintaining my mental health. It’s one of the times when I do my most productive thinking about problems or opportunities at work or in life. And I love going on a long run and then being able to murder a brunch and call it “recovery.”
Alex Taylor crossed the finish line of the 2018 California International Marathon just a few seconds too late.
Finishing with a gun time of 2:19:12, he missed an Olympic Team Trials marathon qualifying time by 12 seconds.
“I think I was the first one to finish and not qualify,” he said with a laugh.
While it was disappointing at the time, Taylor, a Woodbridge native, now sees that race in a different light.
Last June, he finished Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minn. with a gun time of 2:17:08, clinching that OTQ and achieving a goal that was a decade in the making.
Capital Crescent Trail & Washington Episcopal School
Certified Course with timing and awards ceremony
$50+ per adult
$15+ per child
Starting Gun: 8:30 AM
New for 2020! Zen Lounge with Reiki specialists, massages, juice bars and local
Washington City Paper Sports Editor Kelyn Soong dicusses how the coronavirus has affected nearly every sport.
When Kerry O’Brien woke up on Friday, March 13, she hadn’t expected to have an entire day free, because she’d been planning to go in to school to teach her 6th grade special education class. When she got the memo that her school would be closed for at least the next several weeks due to COVID-19, she seized the opportunity to tackle her bucket list of local trails. O’Brien set a goal to run a new trail every weekday she is out of school, which Governor Northam just announced will now be until the end of the school year in June.
O’Brien has an inspirational notebook where she keeps lists of places she wants to travel, books she wants to read, and of course, trails she’d like to run. When she first moved to the DC area from upstate New York in 2012, she craved community, so she joined a Meet-Up group that met every Saturday morning at Teddy Roosevelt Island for long runs.
No running group is good right now. Run alone for a while.
Most of the paved paths around here are barely six feet wide anyway.
If you’re on a single track trail and you have to pass people either way, stop for a moment and move off the trail so you keep each other at a safe distance.
Arlington County probably didn’t want to close its tracks and trails to group use, but it did so in hopes of limiting the spread of the coronavirus, so take that into account when you decide where to run, even if they can’t enforce those closures.
Nova Parks is closing its parking lots but not its trails. That would seem to cut down on crowding on trails by discouraging people who had to drive from visiting.
The National Arboretum, however, can close the gates, and did Tuesday afternoon.
I’m hoping by the time this is all over, I will have updated and upgraded our running group schedule and database, but for now, please don’t waste the sacrifices that people and businesses have made in the name of public health just for some company for a few miles.
Name: Thong Tran
Self-described age group: 41
Volunteer roles in the running world: Volunteer with local groups such as Trottin Oxen and DC Capital Striders
Why you run: I currently run as an outlet to stress, anxiety and depression. But I started my current foray in 2015 when my cholesterol was through the roof. I signed up for my first and supposed one-and-done marathon, Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. 2016, to help me lose weight and get my labs under control (I’m no longer on any cholesterol medications!)
When did you get started running: I ran in high school, both cross country and track, at the suggestion of my 10th grade PE teacher.
Have you taken a break from running: After high school I really didn’t run until seven years ago, my coworker asked if I wanted to run a half marathon with her (Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. 2013). I signed up, she canceled lol. I remember getting to the point where the half and full split and thinking…those guys are crazy, I would never do that! Then I stopped running until my cholesterol labs came back bad!