Guest Contributor: Kat Bruce
I was 1 of 30,000+ participants in the Los Angeles Marathon on March 8, 2020. It was an unforgettable rush to be a part of the never-ending wave of runners that filled the streets of LA for 26.2 miles. The energy of the crowd undoubtedly carried me through the inevitable “wall” and across the finish line in Santa Monica. Three days later, the pandemic shut our country down and everything changed.
So many have lost so much since that date. This great pause has impacted everyone including the events industry that creates these amazing and energetic community gatherings.
I'm a professional event producer and an endurance event participant. By early May, each of the 25 events I had been working on were paused or cancelled, putting my business on indefinite hold. The four endurance events that I had registered for were cancelled. I am the type that needs a race date on the calendar to stick with my training plan. I had begrudgingly accepted that my race plans for the rest of 2020 were not an option.
So, I made a new plan! I created alternate challenges for myself like run one mile every hour on the hour for 13.1 and spelling out my home state of Ohio on a run. I learned a lot by trying new things, but I felt a sense of loneliness and in general missed being around people and thriving off the communal energy. I started scheduling regular running dates with my friends. This was a lifesaver and made me feel like not every part of my life was on pause.
I had been connecting with Adam Bratton at MJ Bratton during this time about marketing and branding advice for a new business plan that I was working on as a pivot to my event production company. He shared his vision for Human Powered Movement, and I was immediately excited to be part of a training community again.
As luck would have it, one of HPM’s upcoming challenges was entitled Teammate Marathon where two people would collectively cover 26.2 miles. This gave me something to train for with a running partner by my side as well as an online community aiming for the same goal. I felt like myself again! I gained the confidence that I could train for something outside of a traditional in-person event.
The energy from this virtual community has inspired me to create other unique challenges for myself. Some are calming challenges like learning to identify the wide variety of birds in my backyard.
And some are active challenges, like creating my own 17 mile run around Indian Lake in Ohio. (I honestly think Adam stole my idea for the upcoming Perimeter Project challenge in July.)
For me personally, these alternative challenges have inspired me to open the physical and mental door of gain during this time of loss. Through the pandemic I’ve learned to test myself in new ways and grow outside of my typical comfort zone. I often remind myself of a Fred Devito quote “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”
In this year of pause, there is so much to gain from simply pushing play on life.
Speaking of hitting play … on Saturday, I ran 26.2 from my front door on what would have been the original 2021 LA Marathon weekend date! It certainly looked and felt different than a year ago, but I was equally excited to have made it through my training and toe the start line once again. Even without the sea of 30,000+ people, the energy of a small handful of running partners and friends propelled me through the finish line. In a different but definitive way, I once again felt the power of community.
About the Author:
Well beyond Kat's successful professional and personal experience in the event world, she has a broader life goal of joining the exclusive centenarian club.
Journal - The Power of Community
Human Powered Journal
Writings and musings of an active lifestyle
Adam Bratton is the Founder and Head Enabler at Human Powered Movement.
Guest Contributors are more compelling in written word and life in general.