Martin Parnell was scheduled to run in the upcoming Boston Marathon which was originally set to take place on April 20. Little did he know that a worldwide pandemic known as COVID-19 would force the race to be postponed until Sept. 14.
Parnell, like many others involved, felt like it was the right decision to postpone the event until a later date to keep things from worsening. The decision however, will keep Parnell from competing in the race.
"I totally support the decision," Parnell said. "I think they kind of waited as long as they could but it was a decision that had to be made, there was obviously no question about it. For me, it's really a case of change in priorities and what's important so I'm not going to run in it when it hopefully comes back in September ... I've cancelled my accommodations and flight."
"For me, it didn't fit. With what's going and what may be coming, it's a bit of a distraction right now and in terms of priorities, it wasn't high on the list. It wasn't an easy decision but it was one I had to make. This (COVID-19) is going to change the world and my priorities right now are my family, friends and community. I'm not going to try and guess when this is over ... Hopefully they can run the marathon in September, but I'm not convinced that it will happen. For the time being, I'm just going to follow the guidance we're given in terms of keeping our distance and washing our hands in order to do right by our fellow Cochranites and then take it from there."
Parnell said he's not sure how marathons and other large events might be effected once things start trending in the right direction. Parnell did add that there are other ways to participate in a remote-type marathon from the comfort of your own home, something he'll be participating in this upcoming weekend.
"I have no idea," Parnell said with a bit of a chuckle. "I have no idea what's going to happen. You have to hope that in the future we're back to running marathons and trail running ... it can be a lonely sport or it could be a social sport so we'll see what happens. I can't predict the future."
"I'll be participating in an event on the weekend which is kind of interesting. It's called the Backyard Ultra and it's an online event that's on Zoom or whatever similar tool you have and you can participate on a treadmill or outside on your own. Basically, you have to run 6.7 kilometres within one hour and then it just keeps going until there's only one person standing. This has been an event that's gone on for a couple of years now and there are people who go for 50 hours. Things are changing and there's a lot of online stuff that we're sharing with one another and this is one of those things."
Parnell and his wife are still continuing to hit the trails for their daily dose of physical activity, but they are taking the necessary precautions needed in order to make sure they're doing it safely with the physical and social distancing requirements.
"I mean, it's pretty straight forward. It's a two-metre social distancing ... it's not hard to figure out," Parnell said. "So on the pathways, it's gotten a little busier with everybody coming out to get some exercise. Fresh air helps you refresh after you've been cooped up in the house for days on end so it's good to see that people are still trying to get their exercise."
"But the trick is when you come out on the pathway or sidewalks, just make sure you're giving them that two-metres and that you're ever aware about who's around you. Even if you have to go off the trail and onto the grass, it doesn't matter, you can't just blow by other people. You need to follow the rules, no matter where you are."