Running is My Therapy
Since March 2020, the COVID-19 situation has interrupted all of our lives. From vacation plans to see our favourite band/team, artist or family; we all had to postpone and adapt to this new norm.
In the world of running, it also has affected the lives of runners and race organizers across the planet from either cancelling or modifying it to a virtual environment.
We also had to learn to adjust to our weekly scheduled runs by social distancing and following the protocols as outlined by the Department of Health.
But like any obstacle of a runner, we find a way to make it work. We still go, day in and day out, to run our favourite course, continue to train or meet up with that running buddy.
Running is the one constant that still is an option for all of us during times when there are so many restrictions and limitations in place.
On a daily basis, we hear from government officials insisting to get out of the house and exercise but in a safe manner.
Not only does running provide a great way to exercise but to me, it provides a therapeutic release. It is a way to clear my head and come back in a fresh and open mind.
Now, more than ever, running has become my therapy. At various times this year, I have suffered from mental illness and that has caused me to seek help on a regular basis.
I have found that being able to continue to train and enjoy a nice run when times are tough is just as good or even better than seeing a medical professional.
With the stresses of working from home and fears of contracting the disease, I grab my size 15 Topo Athletics sneakers, plug in my headphones and head out the door.
I have made it a point while out there to engage with those I meet — especially the essential workers — with a smile, thank you, good morning or wave.
It’s a great feeling when you can make someone smile because maybe they are also battling or dealing with something and they just need some sense of normal or someone to say, “Hey. Smile! We are in this together.”
Personally, I think running or any form of activity can certainly alleviate this.
Running during this pandemic has brought on a bigger purpose and makes me appreciate every step.
Because let’s face it, if the situation was worse, we would not be allowed to go out and enjoy the outdoors. But until that time, I will continue to go out and try to make someone smile while training for those I love and adore.
Whatever it is that you do that brings you to a better place please do so because the days will get better and like the saying goes: “This too, shall pass”.
Please stay safe, take care of yourselves and others.
Blake Crossley lives in Fort McMurray, raising his sons, Nathaniel, 18, and Kaleb, 15, with his wife, Candice. As an active runner, he has participated in marathons across North America, which also includes a two-time Boston Marathon runner status and is currently preparing for the Boston and Chicago Marathon for 2021.
He runs with passion for autism and childhood cancer, as well as rare diseases and illnesses. He has raised thousands of dollars throughout the years for the causes. Crossley can be spotted running around Fort McMurray, bringing laughter and happiness to pedestrians and motorists while running in superhero and elf costumes, sharing his infectious smile and big waves.
Blake Crossley, 46, beats the odds while regularly running long distances with a pacemaker. He’s one of the community’s most influential parents as he raises funds for various charities and organizations. Photo by Thomas Hopkins Photography
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Crossley has donned many costumes to celebrate the days of the year and people who motivate him to keep running. The outfits showcase Easter Bunny Blake, Mr. Canada Day Blake, Unicorn Blake and YMM4Tessa Blake! Supplied photos