The End of the World Run Club

March 17, 2020

For historical reference, to those reading this in the distant future trying to piece together what happened in the early months of the 2020s, here's how my week went:

About a week ago I we were watching the news of a looming viral outbreak with modest concern, planning how we would cope if this thing got out of hand, but eagerly preparing for a family vacation to Disney World starting on March 20th. A flight to Florida, ten days in a resort hotel, theme parks, spring break, a trip to NASA and Universal Studios. I was pondering how I would fit some running into the mix and researching jogging paths near and around the hotel.

On Wednesday (while we were out running) the US started shutting down travel from Europe.

On Thursday, Disney World announced it was closing to the public for an indefinite time period.

On Friday, things started getting serious and after cancelling all our vacation plans, I was unceremoniously pulled into a crisis communications team at work.

On Saturday, our city shut down most public recreation facilities and public attractions.

On Sunday, the province cancelled classes for all school and essentially ended the school year.

On Monday, my employer sent everyone who could do, into work-from-home mode. The Canadian government strongly urged everyone to stop travelling or to come home. The stock markets had their worst day in recorded history. And stopping at the grocery store on my way home I lived a scene from an end-of-the-world movie in my real life.

On Tuesday, today, St. Patrick's Day, they told people not to gather in bars or restaurants. The news calls this the "new normal" and that today, in March, is the beginning of what is likely 4 months of managed isolation from each other.

Smart or not, we're going to meet in a parking lot tonight, keep ourselves at a safe distance, and run about six klicks through some warming winter asphalt trails. I guess high-fives are probably out of the question.

Running in the apocalypse is simple: no one who is feeling in any way sick is gonna run anyways. There is lots of space. Social distancing is natural and easy. And in this time of isolation and potential loneliness, locked in our homes with limited physical activity, it is probably a good way to stay fit mentally and emotionally.

What are the rules for running you would follow during this new normal?