In 2020, I had three half marathons scheduled. Those races were supposed to be my final three states left of my quest to run a half marathon in all 50 states. Every last one of them was cancelled so I didn’t run a single race last year. Well, I ran a virtual 5k but I’m not counting that, even though it was my fastest 5k ever (I Ran My Fastest 5k, but Does It Even Count?).
However, in 2021, I actually have not three but four in-person races scheduled. I’m running my final three states, Minnesota, Iowa, and New Mexico, in that order. The only race that is the original one I signed up for is the one in New Mexico, although it will be in November instead of April when it normally takes place (pre-COVID).
I had a hard time finding a half marathon in Minnesota in June or July that wasn’t already full to capacity (the races are smaller this year, due to COVID limitations). When I was looking for a half marathon in Minnesota, I would get excited when I would find an in-person one, only to quickly discover it was already full. Someone told me I could purchase a race number from an injured runner signed up for the half marathon part of Grandma’s Marathon, which I didn’t even know was a thing. After seeing the exorbitant fees being charged, I said no thank you and kept looking for another race.
There’s even a Facebook group set up entirely for the purpose of finding a race in 2021 that isn’t cancelled (of course there is, Facebook!). Some people from that group recommended some races to me, all of which I had already checked out and knew they were full. That’s how I found out about the ability to purchase someone else’s race number, what’s the word- legally? That’s not right, but hopefully you know what I mean. Usually you aren’t supposed to use someone else’s race number in a race, but apparently if you go through the approved channels, it’s OK to do so.
After checking every single search engine I’ve ever used in the past to find a half marathon in Minnesota in June or July, I found not one but two actual in-person races that weren’t full! I emailed the race director listed on the website for one race because it wasn’t entirely clear to me the race would happen as scheduled for 2021 (the website still had some dates from 2020 and other outdated information, along with a 2021 race date). When he didn’t get back to me, I held my breath, crossed both fingers, and registered for the other race. I later got confirmation that I’m indeed registered.
You may be wondering about the half marathon in Iowa. That one was easy. I found a race scheduled for October that stated on their website the race would take place in-person, basically come hell or high water, because they were going to do absolutely everything possible to make it happen. The race director has been sending out weekly updates, which I appreciate, and everything does seem to be going smoothly, or as smoothly as possible during a pandemic.
So where does the fourth race come in? On a whim, and as part of my resolution for 2021 to be more spontaneous with races this year, I entered the lottery for the Peachtree Road Race. This is normally the largest 10k in the world and is held every July 4th in Atlanta. The first time it was cancelled since it began in the late 1970’s was 2020.
The 2021 Peachtree Road Race will not only have runners on July 4 but also July 3, to control crowds. I thought I might have a better chance of getting in since it will be split into two days and it turns out I was right, or maybe I just got lucky. Not only did I get in, my teenage daughter also got in, and not only that, but we both got in on the same day. I knew I was taking a huge chance with that one, but I thought worst case scenario, neither of us gets in, best case scenario, we both get in. Yes, it will be steaming hot, but I’m used to hot and humid and will be well-acclimated to the heat by then.
I’m very excited for all four of my races this year! How does your race schedule look for this year? Do you have a race or races you’re excited about?