Northern Arizona’s Max Spilsbury Field at Lumberjack Stadium usually hosts Team Run Flagstaff practice from spring through late fall, but not this year.
Since moving to Flagstaff 10 years ago, I’ve always had one constant — somewhere to go every Tuesday night. I can barely remember a week in which I wasn’t at the track with Team Run Flagstaff.
When the pandemic hit in mid-March and TRF suspended practices, I joked that I kept forgetting to take the garbage to the curb. It was something I did habitually when I got home from practices on Tuesdays. As these seemingly insignificant routines are suddenly taken away, we sometimes get disoriented in bizarre ways.
At TRF, we kicked off 2020 with the intention to celebrate our 10-year anniversary. We envisioned big parties and exciting guest speakers. We were going to honor the community that’s nurtured our little nonprofit organization from the beginning, allowing it to grow and thrive. We were dreaming of what the next 10 years might look like: How could we improve the quality of life and wellbeing for more people in Flagstaff through opportunities in running? How could we better serve all ages and abilities as we moved into our next decade?
On the second Tuesday in March, we held our last practice at the Northern Arizona outdoor track for a while. I begged our members: no spitting, no snot rockets, no high fives and please try to resist hugs (we’re a friendly group — that one was harder than it sounds).
In the days following, we had to make the tough decision to suspend workouts. The guidance from public health and medical officials was clear — a group of as many as 100 runners, huffing and puffing through speed intervals together, wasn’t safe.