Looking on the bright side a.k.a. Character Builder

During the course of 2020 many of us have and will experience the disappointment of an extensively planned running or triathlon event being postponed or outright cancelled. I share your disappointment. This is my story.
In June 2019 I was thrilled to find out I secured an entry into the London Marathon scheduled for April 26, 2020. It’s hard to get into this event. Many people try for literally years through the lottery system to get in without success. I was fortunate to snag a spot through an International Tour group. On July the 2nd the excitement continued when, after a good couple of hours of very frustrating technical website issues, I found out I had also secured an entry into the Tokyo Marathon scheduled for March 1, 2020. And then in September, the icing on the cake…, I received confirmation that I officially gained entry into the Boston Marathon, scheduled for April 20, 2020 (6 days before London).

2020 was going to be my year of Marathons…3 Abbott Majors World Marathon’s in the course of 8 weeks to add to the 3 I have already run: New York, Chicago and Berlin. With my crossing the finish line in London on April 26th I would complete the 6 World Majors and be presented with the Abbott Majors medal. I now had to book all my hotels, side trips and of course figure out a training plan. Well that all happened. That all happened until February 17th when things all started to change.

Up until February 17th, after putting in 837 km of training over the previous 14 weeks in preparation for the March 1st Tokyo race I had to put that all in my back pocket. The race was not going to happen, at least not for the general population, only for about 200 elite runners. I now went about cancelling all my hotels, side trips for Japan. For most of the cancellations I got a full refund but there were some that incurred a penalty. That’s just the way it is sometimes. The Tokyo Marathon was not going to give a refund, but they were going to send the shirt, bib, poncho and other assorted paraphernalia. Despite the disappointment I had to look at the bright side… I was now in pretty good shape and after all I still had Boston and London to train for…right? I continued my training for the next month putting in another 284 km until the news came down on March 13th that the Boston Marathon and London Marathon had been postponed to September 14th and October 4th respectively. No surprise there. Thus, another change in plan and more hotel and side trip cancellations and re-bookings. Luckily no extra costs.

As a result, plan B…re-start my training on June 1st in hopes that Boston and/or London might happen. Fast forward to May 28th. It’s official, the Boston Marathon has been cancelled and will only be held as a virtual event between September 7th and 14th. I’m thinking I may run it in the beautiful Cowichan Valley, but I’ll be waiting for the final details before I commit. I’d simply treat it as a fun run anyway.

Effective June 1st I have restarted my training. Can’t hurt! At least I’ll stay in shape and be ready to run the Virtual Boston Marathon if I decide to do so. And, of course there’s still one piece missing to the story. London. As it stands now, I’m waiting to hear what will happen to the planned October 4th event. I think that is going to be announced near the end of this month. Realistically, I don’t think London will happen this year but only time will tell and with my training re-start I’ll be ready in the extremely off chance it will go ahead.

Despite the disappointments, I do try to look on the bright side… there’s lots of good news.
• My training has put me in pretty good shape.
• I still have my Tokyo Marathon spot, even though I have to pay the entrance fee again. And by the way I did end up getting a bunch of cool stuff sent to me from the Tokyo marathon organizers. I will soon face the choice whether to pick March 2021 or March 2022. I’m pretty sure I’ll go with March 2022. A better chance that one will actually happen and besides, my Air Canada flight credit is good until April 2022.
• The Boston Marathon is allowing qualifying times to be used for entry into the 2021 race all the way back to September 2018 so I’m 99% sure my times from Chicago and Berlin will still get me in. A full refund is being given. Registration will be in September for the 2021 race. Will Boston happen in 2021 you ask? Keeping my fingers crossed but we’ll have to wait and see.
• My London Marathon package with Marathon Tours out of Boston is fully protected and fully paid so no worries there. Even if London is cancelled, I feel pretty comfortable that my entry package will get pushed forward to the next running of the race.
What else is good…
• We are so fortunate we live where we live! In comparison to other parts of Canada and the World we are pretty safe plus we can run year around!
• I enjoy running… so training…pause…repeat isn’t so bad. There’s not a lot of other stuff going on right now anyway. I would of course prefer to be enjoying Sheron’s Tuesday training sessions with the Ceevacs crew and I do miss those planned longer Saturday group runs, especially enjoying coffee and conversation afterwards but that will happen again, and I think I’ll even appreciate it more than before.

My Abbott Majors medal will have to wait a while but I’m confident it will happen. I do look forward to the day, hopefully in March 2022, when crossing the finish line in Tokyo (my 6th World Majors Marathon after completing Boston and London) a volunteer will smile, congratulate me and put the Abbott majors medal around my neck. An accomplishment a little later than originally expected but an accomplishment worth waiting for.
That’s my 2020 Marathon story to date.
Thanks for reading.

Stay happy and safe everyone.
David Sykes – Proud member of Ceevacs

Re: Photos – They’re all from Berlin (Sept 2019) – the Berlin 6K Fun Run the day before the Marathon.
The first is a selfie with the crowd forming before the 6K race started.
In the 2nd photo, during the Fun Run, the 3 people in front of me had these cool T-Shirts that show my current Marathon Goal (“Chasing the World Marathon Majors”).
The 3rd photo is another selfie taken at the end of the Fun Run as we all entered the Berlin Olympic Stadium.