Spring has sprung and the vaccination numbers are blossoming.
Less than a week ago we hit the 100 million mark and things look promising for runners and cyclists (plus those who do both) when racing returns.
Some of the area’s top athletes say they plan to put together a busier race schedule after basically having to take a year off due to the pandemic.
Of course, safety cautions still will be in effect and, in most cases, that means smaller fields and a lot fewer amenities such as awards ceremonies.
But the whole idea is to get out there and challenge yourself to do the best you can, regardless of the competition.
Jamie Gray, who dominated the recently completed Bucks County Roadrunners Club Winter Series (and would have defended his title from 2019-20 if there had been scoring), looks to get more involved in racing as the year goes along.
“I do plan on getting some racing in as soon as they start coming back together,’’ Gray wrote in an email. “I will be getting my second vaccine on Thursday this week actually.
“From what I have seen so far, nothing has been set in stone for any races in the spring, but the fall looks to be pretty busy with hopefully more people being open to larger gatherings at that point.’’
If all goes well, some of the region’s classic races once again will be around for participation.
“Depending on how things shake out, I’m hoping to do the Philadelphia Distance Run, the Broad Street Run and maybe the full marathon in Philadelphia if everything goes according to plan,’’ Gray said.
“Not having a full racing schedule lined up for the year has been a good opportunity to build my base and change up workouts from prior years just to see how it affects me, so I am hoping the fall will be a good time to test things out.’’
Speaking of the fall, Langhorne’s Pete Lederer is looking to extend his consecutive Boston Marathon streak to 18 years when the king of American marathons returns with a live version in October.
Lederer kept his streak alive last September by completing a virtual 26.2-miler on a local course.
“I will be getting my first shot soon,’’ he said. “I will definitely feel more comfortable doing races once I’m fully vaccinated.
“I plan to run Boston so I hope that things are much better by then and that they also have some protocols in place. The last thing anyone needs before a marathon is the added stress of worrying about getting Covid.’’
Meanwhile, on the cycling side of the race scene, Furlong’s Charlie Rowland also plans to resume his international schedule in late summer/early fall over in Europe and destinations beyond.
Rowland has received both his vaccination shots and is ready to roll as soon as conditions warrant.
“The year 2020 was a bust in terms of cycling events but a great year for training as there was no business travel,’’ Rowland said. “My weight was the lowest it’s been since I was 40 (about 20 years ago) and my power was higher than it’s ever been.
“The 2021 plan to do back-to-back seven-day stage races in the Alps and Pyrenees late August and early September. I was very selective in 2020 on training with others, with limited travel.’’
Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is that this pandemic is far from over. So even if runners are vaccinated, they should continue to follow the usual safety protocols – masks, proper distance, hand hygiene, etc.
David and Anabelle Broadbent, who make up one of Bucks County’s fastest and most enthusiastic running couples, figure to be more active this year but want to remind everyone to stay safe.
Anabelle competed in 54 virtual and three live races last year while David participated in 25 virtual and two live.
David has received his first shot and scheduled for his second on April 1. Anabelle is hopeful to receive both in the near future.
“Once vaccinated, we both intend to participate in more in-real-life racing events,’’ Anabelle said. “The vaccine gives us a higher level of confidence to race in live events. But it’s important to note, even after vaccination, we will continue to be cautious and maintain preventive measures.’’
Let’s all hope our return to normal times includes some of our favorite races so we have some real incentive for training hard once again.
>Bucks 5K Series kicks off
The 2021 Bucks 5K Series begins this Saturday with the Blaze of Glory 5K.
Here’s the schedule for the remaining five races:
>Bookin’ for Lookin’ 5K, 9 a.m., April 24.
>Virtual YMCA Bucks County Strong 5K, May 16.
>Doylestown 5K, 9:30 a.m., May 29.
>Virtual Chalfont Challenge 5K, June 5.
>Break-Fast 5K & 10K, 8:30 a.m., June 20.
Blaze of Glory 5K, 9 a.m., Plumstead. Contact www.bucks5kseries.com