By: Jamie Maher

Life is a journey and ours has always been one a little less traveled. We train and run ultra after ultra to push our limits and build some friendly competition along the way. My husband and I train year round. Yes, we love the races, we love the competitive drive that races bring and we love the unlimited new friends we meet along the way.

But our limits were tested this March, when COVID-19 hit our Nation. Our lives were suddenly altered by “Stay at Home” orders and the need for discipline of training was suddenly halted. We were now two parents, working from home, homeschooling our two littles, and all our races had been canceled. We now longed for a new purpose in training while we tried to survive our quarantine.

We sulked a bit, like most of the nation, me a bit more so than Ryan. I felt my drive for training suddenly stunted. But what I have learned is – I train for life, not for races.

For me, running is so much more than a race. It’s the discipline, the drive, the want to do more than I believe I am able to accomplish. We began to tackle every street in our town. Slowly, we’ve started to check streets off our list, but for me, it still wasn’t enough. I needed a bigger challenge. 

As most parents, our lives revolve around our children. One parent runs out the door at 4am, the next receives a butt slap and an ‘I love you’ before heading out as quickly as the first arrives. The Quarantine 50K would be no different. We would each tackle our next journey – running from the St. Louis Arch, the icon of our city, to our home in the suburbs. A perfectly planned 31+ miles.

In true fashion, Ryan and I took turns – him Saturday, and me on Sunday. An 8:00am drop off for each of us. We hugged, kissed and set out for a 5 hour jaunt through the city! Street after street, we captured pictures of uncharted territory knowing our only mission was to make our way home, and we both did.

I can’t share how incredible of an accomplishment and honor it was to run this iconic run from the Arch. I may not have been racing, but I sure did learn more about myself and meet people along the way. People everywhere, outside, trying to stay healthy and create new, healthy routines for themselves. I was able to see so much light in people, and myself, when the light seemed to be fading.

We don’t know when this new ‘normal’ will end or what our next journey might be. What I do know is I will continue to train, and train for life. New journeys and new opportunities will appear. When they do, I will embrace them as positive and find even deeper meaning in life. I look forward to many more smiles along the way and because I train, I will be able to appreciate each and every new journey. It’s time to stay the course. Happy Running from STL!