Yes, 2021 is coming to a close. And although I maybe didn’t accomplish everything I had set out to do this year with my running, I also kept expectations low. After all, we certainly deserve a bit of grace after a pandemic year, especially those of us who are essential workers, including healthcare providers.
I’m very grateful that this year we returned to live races. Obviously, we are still in the midst of the pandemic, but with the introduction of vaccines to the mitigation efforts, racing in person was once again possible. That didn’t mean that we no longer had virtual races or alterations in format, but as the year progressed, it was clear that big events could be held safely once again.
My year began with a couple of half marathons. The first? The new Sports Backers half marathon, held in March from Dorey Park on the Capital Trail in Richmond (there’s also a marathon and 5k). This was an event that was on a measured course, but held over a few days with the flexibility to run when you wanted. It was another great, pivoted event from Sports Backers. The second? The Foot Levelers Blue Ridge half marathon in Roanoke. I was honored to be chosen as an ambassador for this race, and it was an amazing event! They don’t call it America’s Toughest Road Race for nothing. I was more sore after this half than I have been for any of my full marathons!
By summer, it was time to begin marathon training team with Sports Backers. I returned as a coach with Pink Nation, our first year without our beloved head coach Blair Just. Our first long run coincided with the Monument 10k from Sports Backers, which they pivoted to two open courses in different parts of Richmond. Pink Nation ran from Dorey Park along the Capital Trail, once again, to complete the race!
My next live race of the year was the MTT midterm: the newly rebranded Ashland Half Marathon, formally known as the Patrick Henry half. New this year was the extra half hour early start, ensuring that back of the pack runners had a better chance to finish under the time limit. What wasn’t new? The soul crushing heat and humidity that is summer in central Virginia! Still a great race.
My fall marathon was run virtually. Why? Not because of Covid, but because security around the Pentagon could not be guaranteed due to the unique civil unrest in our nation’s capital recently. Marine Corps Marathon 46 was run on the streets of Richmond, coinciding with our team’s 20 miler, with some added miles at the beginning and end of the route, which closely followed the Richmond marathon course. How about that?
I coached the Richmond Marathon. I loved being back on the original course this year, and it was truly inspiring to once again usher in a new set of marathoners!
The pinnacle of my year, however, was checking off another bucket list distance. I completed a 50k: the Freight Train 50k Ultramarathon. I will never have to ask myself the question of IF I can run longer than a marathon. The only question left is, can I run it faster?
I’ve got a couple of races in mind for the spring. I’m definitely returning to the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Half Marathon again, since I was chosen as an ambassador for 2022! (Use my code MAGEE2022 if you want a discount for this race!) We’ll see what else pans out!
Did you run any races in 2021? Do you have any in mind for 2022? Are there any races I should travel to? I’d love to hear about it!
As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.