Running in the time of Corona
The world is changing rapidly and significantly. As we confront the new realities of remote work, we must also get to grips with the future of remote exercise and play. It’s not just tech companies like Zoom who are hailed the winners of the crisis (where mobile downloads have reportedly jumped to 3.2 million every day, compared with an average of 55,000 a day before the crisis), there have also been huge spikes in the downloads of apps like Strava, Map My Run by Under Armour and Nike Training Club in the past few months. It would appear that these unprecedented times have made a runner out of all of us.
As a small comical relief to the announcement of nationwide lockdown, the Prime Minister’s permission of a daily exercise was met with memes of individuals sent to jail for daring to run twice in a day. Ensuring all social distancing rules are adhered to, however, there has never been a better time to lace up your trainers, get outside and go running. A chance to get well away from the daily negativity relentlessly reported by the media and a chance to get up from your desk, stretch your legs and go further with your goals.
In addition to the benefits to your physical, and crucially, mental health, running at the moment increasingly offers the chance to stay connected and showcase your efforts on social media. There are a host of opportunities to get you pounding the pavements, such as the #TwoPointSixChallenge and the #RunForHeroes 5km, where you can donate to charity and tell the world about your daily workout.
The bar is set pretty high as far as quarantined accomplishments go. We are repeatedly reminded that in previous lockdown conditions enforced due to the Bubonic plague Shakespeare wrote King Lear and Isaac Newton developed calculus and the theory of gravity. However, if the only thing you do with your day is go for a run, you’re doing more than most. You’re giving yourself a chance to reflect and enjoy nature, away from the four walls that both provide safety, but have also been increasingly considered a prison over the last 40+ days.
Whilst the eventual relaxation of social distancing measures will perhaps see gyms reopened and a flock of gym-goers desperate to get back to their machines, it has undoubtedly unlocked the sport of running, making joggers out of even the most reluctant amongst us. From families, to couples, to solitary athletes, it has provided an opportunity to appreciate the sport not just for its fitness benefits, but for the self-reflection and enjoyment of the outside world it brings. As we look for positives in a sea of overwhelming negativity, I am thankful for a newfound appreciation of this sport.