London marathon 2020 was finally cancelled last week, so after training for it twice (up to around 8 weeks out each time) I find myself at a bit of a loose end, race-wise. I have a qualifying time for Boston 2021, but am not sure I want to commit myself to flying over then in a tin can for several hours with several hundred other people. Nor do I want to commit financially to flights and hotels when I might find myself suddenly requiring to undertake a quarantine period, or the race gets pushed again.
So, what to do? I stopped the training plan at a point where I was averaging in the high fifties for weekly mileage, so thought I would continue at that level this time around (when lockdown was announced I stuck with a 40-mile base, with no speedwork and no runs longer than 10 miles). The race situation is a bit fluid at the moment, so a race might suddenly open up with a few weeks’ notice (and equally could disappear in an instant). Instead of training for a specific distance I figured I would keep doing one intervals session a week, probably whatever has been set by the Single Malt Marathoners podcast, just to keep the legs sharpish.
I’ve also switched out tempo Thursday for the Thursday half, where I will run at least half marathon distance to keep the weekly mileage up. That should keep me pootling around Bristol on a variety of loops that can be adjusted if any local lockdowns with distance-from-home restrictions come into force (unlikely, but if this pandemic has taught us anything, then it’s that anything can happen).
Motivation can be hard to find without specific targets to train for, but serendipity landed something in my lap just yesterday. A fellow INKnBURN ambassador got in touch asking if I’d like to join a team for CRAW. A lot of googling followed to find out what this was, and after a bit I signed up (for at least region 1 with this team).
CRAW is the Circumpolar Race Around the World. A no-time limit race from Laz Lake (of Berkley Marathons and the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee). In this incarnation teams of up to 10 are logging mileage in a relay race around the world, cutting across the two poles.
As I understand it, one you complete each region (of which there are 12 total), you are then allowed to start the next. At this point, you can switch teams should you choose, and continue with new team mates. Rinse and repeat until the final team you are in completes region 12 when you will have run all around the world.
There are medals for completing each region, and if you complete region 12 within 12 months of the start you earn a gold buckle, if it takes 16 months then it’s a silver buckle. There is also a multi-sport option (biking, kayaking, has to be human-powered), which has a reduced time-limit for the buckles (and if you complete any region in a multi-sport team, you can only qualify for a multi-sport buckle).
It should be fun. I only know a couple of my teammates at the moment, but knowing that your team is relying on you to complete the region’s mileage (which is all recorded on the honour system) should provide that extra motivation to get out of the door. The courses are all plotted using actual roads, with our own routes carved across the South and North poles.
Region 1 is Latin America, and will pass through Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama for a total of 4,009km/2,491 miles. Assuming it is run along the same lines as GVRAT, then teams will be able to plot where they are along the route base on the distances logged.
Starts 1st September 2020 (the day after the cut-off for GVRAT).