Run For It
BY CLAIRE RAMSAY
On a typical beautiful spring weekend in Lexington, neighbors would be going to baseball games, enjoying the races at Keeneland, playing ultimate Frisbee at the park, or hosting a backyard cookout.
That’s all changed for April this year, as COVID 19 has canceled and postponed local gatherings, including popular runs and races.
That hasn’t stopped the kids and friends of Grassroots Pharmacy owners, Lindsey and Shelly Roberts, from staying active.
Sydney Roberts and her friend, Kylie Blackburn, trained for months to participate in a half-marathon that was canceled due to the virus. Instead of letting all that time and hard work go to waste, the girls decided to participate in the KYShines virtual half-marathon and create their own course.
Why this particular race?
This race supports God’s Pantry and the #TeamKentucky Fund. “This run is important to them [Sydney and Kylie] for several reasons. First, is that it supports great local causes in God’s Pantry and the Team Kentucky Fund,” said Lindsey and Shelley. “Second, it gives them a chance to take the race to their team and, in a way, gives their entire team a reason to celebrate, which will hopefully be a bright spot in this time of social distancing.”
This race has also kept them motivated to stay active and give them the reason to keep training.
A runner at heart, Sydney (10 years old) had never completed a half-marathon and didn’t want to postpone that dream. With the help of her family and teammates of Liberty Track and Cross Country, she will be able to complete the 13.1 mile run. Her teammates provided their addresses so that Shelley and Lindsey could create the route based on that information. “Liberty running is like one BIG FAMILY and when I told them about this idea, we had a huge response of people saying they want to be there to help out.” Her peers plan to stand on their porches to cheer her on for every mile, inch, and millimeter of the way.
When originally discussing the idea of how to set up the route, there was an understanding that this was a way to include their whole team and make it about more than just the two girls. “As their coach,” Lindsey says, “I also could not be more proud of our team as they’re stepping up to support their own. We always teach to put your team and teammates above yourself and there is no finer example of our team stepping up than this.”
Part of the fun of a race is having people cheer you on throughout, which is the biggest missing piece of a virtual race. That’s where friends and teammates in the Hamburg area come into play. “The times when they see their teammates along the way will boost their enthusiasm, but if there were other people, strangers supporting them along the way that would surely encourage them as well.”
He adds, “Encouraging virtual runs during this time of social distancing is a great way to keep people active, and give them a goal to strive for. I know from my personal experiences running, it is tough to stay motivated to get out the door unless you have a race to train for. A lot of people are stuck at home, living a more sedentary life than usual, so now more than ever we need to stay active. Getting out for some daily exercise can help with the boredom of being stuck inside, help avoid weight gain from inactivity, help boost your immune system, and lessen feelings of anxiety and depression during these difficult times.”
The girls were able to complete their virtual half-marathon in 2:09.45 and were cheered on every step of the way by teammates, teachers, neighbors, and family.
The Lexington Police Department supported the effort by providing an escort for the girls along a large portion of the route and helping them cross roads safely.
The neighborhood provided an innovative show of community and support in a challenging time.
Below is a map of the route the girls ran.
This article also appears on page 11 of the May 2020 print edition of Hamburg Journal.
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