Running together, apart


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The pandemic seemed to hit all of us in waves. First, the university had to go into crisis and problem-solving mode. Then, the students had to do the same. Making alternative living arrangements, moving, re-orienting to a remote learning environment and more. For me, there was a short time thereafter that I had no energy and went through a general malaise following the initial adrenaline burst. As I worked to re-energize and pull out of that, I turned to my security blanket — exercise.

Some of the runners from the Half Marathon Challenge in the fall texted one another about running together now. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do that just yet. But I did want to encourage them and others to continue to exercise because of the physical and emotional health benefits. To move forward, the CoRUNavirus Challenge was initiated and publicized to the fall runners, students on campus and the employee listserv. Over 80 people responded.

The plan is to run (or walk) 50 miles in about a five- to six-week period. It is a manageable amount and enough to accommodate those who aren’t regular runners. Those who complete the program will receive a Dri-fit style running shirt in recognition. Because of the popularity of the program, a second wave was presented to the Trinity community through the LeeRoy daily electronic newsletter. Another 80 people signed up to participate. The program will conclude in mid-May.

Those who are participating are being asked to contribute a donation to the San Antonio Food Bank through a virtual food drive. This is consistent with the charity of the fall Challenge, which includes the Kayla Mire Food Drive. If things continue, a Zoom zoom edition will follow for the summer, asking for participants to run in shorter, faster bursts.

I have been encouraged by the responses from participants as they have finished. For many, the program has been just enough of a nudge for them to get their miles in. Employees report involving their family members as well. For me, on my moody days, it has also given me a boost. I used to be a solitary runner but over the last 15-20 years started running more with others. I enjoy the social and community aspect of it. I enjoy seeing new runners become lifelong runners. So, for now, we run together, apart. And that will have to do. I look forward to the 13th Annual Dean of Students Half Marathon Challenge this fall. Together.