Minute 1: When can we race again?
Virtual races and Strava Challenges can tide us over for only so long. They’re like healthy snacks before Thanksgiving dinner. They keep our hunger at bay, but pretty soon we’ll be salivating for the full feast. Right now we are jonesing for the hum of a starting line packed with runners. The nervous energy of race morning. The invisible tug of the running pack, pulling us onward through pain. A finisher medal around our sweaty necks. The feeling of being part of something bigger than ourselves. We will race again, but when?
Running USA, the respected industry trade group, told ESPN that race registrations are down 95% right now. The ESPN article suggests that some races “may not be able to ever come back at full strength.” The New York Times just published a thoughtful piece entitled “What Will Endurance Races Look Like When They Come Back?” Most endurance events are cancelled or postponed well into the summer. We believe a critical turning point will be the Boston Marathon, currently rescheduled from April until the week after Labor Day. Last Friday, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced a ban on all public gatherings including parades, concerts and road races through Labor Day. It was telling that his ban stopped 7 days shy of the new Boston Marathon date. If the marathon takes place, that would be a very positive sign for the busy fall marathon season currently scheduled following Boston.
Industry veteran Bob Bickel recently offered an Optimist’s Perspective for the Endurance Community, pointing out that unlike movie theatres, restaurants and airplanes, endurance events are outdoors and enjoy natural ventilation. Using creative solutions like altered start corrals and waves, races may look different, but they’ll be better than chasing a GPS icon on your phone. #FallStart
Minute 2: Can I get a refund?
While we all root for the starting gun to sound for resumed racing, many endurance athletes are clamoring for cash refunds from cancelled or postponed races. Ironman is catching heat for offering registration transfers rather than cash refunds. The New York Times interviewed Ironman CEO Andrew Messick about his refund policy and concluded: “Not everyone is happy about that.” A longtime independent race director offers thoughtful perspective in his Slowtwitch piece entitled: “Why Can’t I Just Get a Refund?” #PainCheck
Minute 3: Business Majors
While event organizers and gym owners are plagued by the Coronavirus, other businesses have thrived during the pandemic. Lots of folks are trying to survive life in close quarters with their families or turn their former commuting (and personal grooming) time into workout sessions. That means investments in brands like Peloton, whose stock is up 55% this year. More than 2.6 million people subscribe to some type of Peloton class offering. The Peloton Digital membership (no requirement to own a Peloton bike) has grown in popularity as users test drive the app in this trial offer. Similarly, Garmin reported record revenue in its fitness division for the most recent quarter. According to industry group NPD, sales of home fitness equipment are setting new PRs. Revenue is up on everything from weight benches (+259%) to yoga mats (+146%). We were happy to see that bike sales also grew dramatically, with adult leisure bike sales leading the way at +121%. See the full list of booming products here. If you’d like to support your local bicycle retailer, remember that in most states they are considered an essential service and are open for business with some restrictions. You may want to review Outside magazine’s list of The 10 Best Local Bike Shops Across America to find out if your favorite made the cut. On a sadder note, Gold’s Gym just filed for bankruptcy. A publication not known for populism, Forbes magazine, just summed up the dichotomy in a piece entitled: “The Uber-Rich Are Buying Pelotons While Gold’s Gym Goes Bankrupt.” As a way of supporting your local gym and keeping your sweat flowing, see if they are renting out their workout gear as many gyms are doing across the country.
Minute 4: I Run With Maud
Runners and walkers are posting 2.23 mile runs on social media and fitness apps this week. The distance is a solemn tribute to 25-year old Ahmaud Arbery, an African American man who was shot by two white men while he was jogging through a quiet neighborhood in Brunswick, GA, on 2/23/20. The case garnered press attention at the time, but interest exploded when a video of the incident was released, showing an unarmed Arbery being gunned down on a sunny afternoon. Warning: the video available on this Twitter link is graphic. Arbery was a former high school football linebacker who enjoyed jogging through the streets of his hometown. Runners and civil rights groups have joined forces demanding justice for Arbery and his family.
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
While sifting through Coronavirus bargain bins online, we found a couple of deals that offered some retail therapy. One of our favorite Brooks running shoes of all time is half off: Brooks Glycerin 17: $75. JackRabbit Sports will keep your tootsies covered for cheap: JackRabbit Running Socks: $5!. REI is offering nice discounts on its trail running shoes. For more trail running ideas, check out our recent Six Minute Mile guide to trail running gear.
Are you stuck on the culinary treadmill of home dinners? Are you basically just hitting “Quick Start” on the same old standbys of recipes night after night? You may want to check out this list of “24 Foods Nutritionists Are Eating During Quarantine.” While we’re talking home cooking, our friend group seems to be divided on the question of whether you need to unleash the Clorox wipes on the food packages you bring home from the grocery store. Wirecutter, one of our favorite review sites, provides an answer to the question: “Should You Sanitize Your Groceries?”
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