Boise Area Runners Take on Pandemic Challenges

A recap of the running challenge BAR held in May. What else are you doing to keep motivated with physical activity these days?

By Beau Seegmiller

Whether for health or just to achieve some mental clarity, runners run for many reasons. Of those reasons, the opportunity to face and overcome a challenge is one of them. Normally we will use a race to serve as a great focal point for our challenges. Given the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and our efforts to stem its spread through canceling races and group runs, finding new challenges has itself become a challenge. 

Boise Area Runners are not known to sit back and let the global spread of a deadly virus stop them from setting goals and overcoming challenges to reach them. To celebrate this aspect of our runners, we held an “official” challenge event where participants created and shared their challenge, and how they overcame it. What follows are just a few of their stories.

For a number of our runners their challenge was about getting out into areas new to them. Molly Guenther shared, “True confession: I’ve lived in Boise for 3 years and never been to Bogus. Until today!” She biked to the top.  Duane Evans “decided to try to do a half marathon on the Lucky Peak loop. Ended up walking many of the steeper pitches but it was a beautiful day with amazing views.” Sara Fry ran a trifecta of completing three different new-to-her routes of varying distances with one up to 20 miles long. “I loved challenging myself to try to face the unknown!” 

For Ben Hipple this challenge was an opportunity to not only be creative but wax philosophical: “I did a triple virtual today! For my virtual run with the BAR, I went around the Payette Lake race course, except I did not race it, and I didn’t even run it, as I ran it virtually on my mountain bike. There is still snow on the road around North Beach,and the hill is as steep as ever, and nobody was at the finish line to cheer me on. So if you cross a finish line and nobody is there to cheer you on, then is it really a finish line? Something to ponder.”

Even though he is very new to the BAR, Leif Fredericks jumped in and completed a monster of a challenge: the 4x4x48. This feat involves running 4 miles at the top of every 4 hours for 48 hours. For the mathematically impaired, that means running 48 miles in two days with interrupted sleep! All of you ultra distance types should be feeling nothing but envy.

Corum Hughes decided to take this challenge as an opportunity to express or create art using a gps with his two feet. “I did a very Idaho half marathon this morning for my first try at Strava art. It was actually about 14 miles, but I had to pause the watch to get some extra lines not represented by streets. The actual 13.1 distance was serendipitous.”

Others just got out there and ran to discover that often the challenge finds us. Matty Leppell reports, “I couldn’t think of anything amazing so I just let my feet take me on a random run with no plan, it was relaxing-ish. I ended up running through a shin deep swamp, got stung by a bee in the palm of my hand, and randomly tripped when I stepped outside my front door to start my run giving the neighborhood a good laugh. #noregrets” 

What is the lesson we can take from all of this? Runners overcome their circumstances, whatever they are, and find a way to keep moving forward.

See you out on a run!

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