I am a runner. Even though I’m not the fastest runner on my team, I love the sport with all my heart. To me, the best feeling in the world is finishing a run, lying on the grass, and laughing at totally random things with my friends. People always say that running is a solo sport, but that statement cannot be more wrong. Running is one hundred percent a team sport, it was a team sport and it will forever be a team sport, running is nothing without people around you who share the same passion.
My school’s 2019 cross country season was the best; everyone was eager to repeat the winning streak during the 2020 track season. I trained hard and prepared. My optimism evaporated when the school district announced that we would be shutting down at the beginning of quarantine. Sports were canceled one by one. Practices were canceled. Athletes were forced to stay at home and wait for further instructions from the district to resume practice. But runners like me did not stop. I continued to train and ran every day, hoping that the quarantine was temporary, thinking that everything would soon go back to normal. But that twinkle of hope was soon taken away when we found out that we were not able to go back this year, at all. That was the middle of last April, and it finally hit me that I had trained hard for nothing.
However, I am a runner, I kept running as I watched the world fall apart. Even though there’s no season, and no reason, I still ran. Instead of breathing in the fresh morning air, I breathed into my mask. At first, it was hard to get used to, but I slowly learned how to optimize my breathing with a mask on. In the past, people greeted me when I ran past them, but during Covid, they turned and faced away. Parks were shut down, the places that used to be filled with people were empty and quiet. There were fewer cars on the streets, which at least meant that I had less chance of getting hit by one. I defiantly hopped a few fences when I was searching for public school tracks. Surprisingly, I also noticed people who used to be busy with work and school started to appreciate being outside in nature. People who used to go to the gym and run on a treadmill began to explore the outside world. These were the people who motivated me the most to continue running and not give up. The great thing about running is that you can run anywhere, anytime, who anyone, and under any circumstances. Running is flexible, and as an athlete, I learned to adapt to numerous situations.
Running is also a mental sport, the art of keep going, keep pushing, keep trying, and never giving up. Covid taught me to run for reasons other than racing and speed. It was the first time in my life where I appreciated running itself.
Submitted by Kelly Mou, Santa Clara County – Palo Alto.