Cancelled Race? Make New Goals


Chances are that you’ve recently had a race canceled, or you’re still anxiously waiting to hear if it’ll happen.

It’s also no longer an option to fill summer months with group runs where we can dive into meaningful conversations. For me, so much of the beauty of running is meeting someone new and learning what her hobbies are, what she does for work and what her opinions are on current events.

For now, we must suspend the former reality of weekends filled with races and group gatherings. But we can still run solo or with small groups, depending on where we live. We can still use running as a tool to better ourselves.

In lieu of racing Western States this year due to its cancellation, I’ve renewed my general commitments and made my own backyard running goals. If I follow through, I think the payoffs will be much greater than finishing any race. I hope the following list inspires you to make your own set of goals:

  • Run a challenging route from my front door that I would normally drive to, but instead, bike to the trailhead. I might go for an FKT or two, as well.
  • Learn about the Indigenous history of my home. In Boulder, we have rich Southern Arapaho, Cheyenne and Ute history. I recommend starting with From there, you can research history about Indigenous Americans in your area.
  • Research the geology around my home. Did you know Boulder, CO, was once a beach? 100 million years ago in the Cretaceous Period, waves lapped against what are now the Flatirons.
  • Find new trails by researching and reading more maps. From Strava routes to Gaia GPS to Caltopo, there are lots of digital options. The latter two are usually better in rural areas. Or, purchase a traditional topographic map from your local sporting goods store.
  • Be actively anti-racist. I follow runners on social media who come from different backgrounds and condemn racist comments. I will ask more questions and listen more.
  • Tune in to my local parks and open space management. I’ve bookmarked Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks and followed their social channels. If we love to run, we should use our experience as a way to give back and improve open space management plans.
  • I will perform trail maintenance when it’s allowed, and clean up the streets and sidewalks in front of my home.

About Author

Clare Gallagher is an ultrarunner and environmental advocate living in Boulder, Colorado. After studying the impacts of climate change on coral reefs at Princeton, she transitioned to running long in the mountains.

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