COVID-19 Impacts Trail Races: Now What?

Trail races nationwide are being canceled, or postponed due to COVID-19, which in turn raises the level of angst for trail runners. Not only are you dealing with the negativity and adverse impact on your daily life from the constant barrage of media attention to the corona virus, something you love to do…run and compete…seems to be taken away from you. Remember that, even if you are a young and seemingly fit elite athlete, you may still have a compromised immune system from the wear and tear of high-milage training. This is especially true for high-mileage runners. Thus, being around a potentially infected individual on a start line could be cause for concern. Think safety first, not a PR, not streak of competition finishes. Understand also that event organizers are facing just as much anxiety as competitors. No race director relishes the thought of cancelling their event.

So, what is a trail runner to do with the pent up frustration? Below are a few outlets for said frustration, and also some ways to make a positive impact in your community – big or small.

Peter Maksimow getting his plog on.

Go Plogging
This is a simple way to give back to your community and you can participate in this activity alone, or with a small group of friends keeping in mind the advice for social distancing. Some tips on plogging can be found here.

Consider a virtual race
A simple version is to pick a Strava segment that you often run, or create a segment and share it with your followers. Invite them to run the segment and share their result – of course providing the relevant data from their effort – and post a link to everyone’s time. No awards are necessary beyond bragging rights. Our friends at Pacific Coast Trail Runs have created virtual racing and an individual virtual event, Jam on Tam. Use some of these ideas for your own virtual runs and races. Find a virtual race on our calendar.

Organize a speed session with a few friends
An impromptu 2 x 5K relay was held on March 14, in place of the cancelled St. Patrick’s Day 5K race in Colorado Springs. Six women participated and had so much fun, they are looking to staging another relay in April.

Rest and Recover
Take a few days off and focus on some of your other hobbies. A recent article written by coach Andrew Simmons writes about the importance of recovery.


Instead of a half hour run, call a friend, or family member (not a text message), you haven’t connected with for quite some time. If you find yourself in un-chartered territory – actually speaking to someone – consider writing a letter to an old friend, or relative and letting them know what you’ve been doing for the past five years.

Create balance
Knowing when the outbreak will be contained is something you can’t control. So, control the things in your life you can control. This will provide you with comfort, a sense of purpose and balance in your life.

#MountainComeback #FindYourPeace