Training for a marathon and not getting to race is frustrating. This can happen due to injury, a weather cancellation, a flight cancellation, a global pandemic, etc. I hope the majority of cancellations are behind us, but it can still happen, so I wanted to share what I think you should do if you find yourself in this situation.
Most of us probably had a race cancelled in the first half of 2020. I had been training for Boston, but it was cancelled about 6 weeks out from race day. I was frustrated, but everything felt uncertain and we didn’t know much, so it was what it was.
By early 2021, I was optimistic races would come back. Here in Sydney, we had been pretty lucky when it came to keeping cases low and avoiding long lockdowns. I signed up for the Gold Coast Marathon in July 2021 not thinking there was a chance it wouldn’t happen. Unfortunately, the last week of June, Sydney went into another lockdown (a very long one this time), and just like that… every race was wiped off the calendar. I even registered for a closer marathon in Western Sydney a week sooner on the day of the GC cancellation, but the back-up option was cancelled a day later as well. Lockdown it was. And I will tell you having an amazing training cycle and seeing every option to use the fitness go away the week of the race is upsetting.
I also had an athlete have a marathon cancelled later in 2021 due to extreme weather. And just last week I had two athletes lose their chance to run a marathon this coming April (2022). These were another reminder that cancellations can happen for a variety of reasons, and it is good to know how to approach it.
Here are some questions to consider:
Whatever your decision is, it is the right one for you. Decide what you want and go for it!
When my July 2021 marathons were cancelled and I found myself in lockdown again with a 5K radius enforced, my options were very limited. I decided to run a 5K time trial for fun that next weekend, and then I took a big break. I was discouraged and needed to take some time before deciding what was next. That was okay. However you react, creating a back-up plan that works for you is great. These are just some ideas if you feel confused and want to weigh your options.