Students Not The Only Ones

COVID Cancels the Boston


The Boston Marathon is the oldest annual marathon in the world. It began in 1897. But with the spread of coronavirus and an attempt by officials to adhere to mandates and safety measures,  on April 1 it was announced that the race would be postponed. 

The Boston Marathon has never been fully canceled. That remains true today. The race is officially rescheduled for September 14. Participants registered for the marathon may elect to receive a refund for entry fees if they do not wish to participate on September 14.  

One of Spring Hill’s own, teacher Andra Jones, was set to run the milestone race with a qualifying time.  So, Seniors Kalen Barlow, Kelsey Bell, and Zach Henry (all slated to head to state in Track) along with many other Seniors were not the only Panthers with dreams deferred due to COVID-19.

“I ran 3hr28min48sec in December 2018 at the Bryan-College Station Marathon.” Ms. Jones said. “ So in September 2019, I was allowed to apply for registration for the April 2020 marathon.”

The September 14 rescheduled run will also serve as the qualifier for the 2021 Marathon. Runners may only enter the Boston Marathon by running a qualifying time in another marathon. This has been the practice since 1970. 

I qualified again this January in Houston but was only under my qualifying time by about 30 seconds,” Ms. Jones said. “This September race would qualify me for April 2021.”

Running a Boston qualifying time (or BQ) is an achievement most runners work a lifetime towards. But even time holds no guarantees.

“After they receive all the applications for entry from qualifying runners, they set a cut-off time because the race is capped to a limited number of runners. So just because you qualified doesn’t mean you actually get in,” Ms. Andrea Jones said. 

Many runners, including Jones, are disappointed by having to wait until September and to train five more months until the race. But, in light of the circumstances, they are grateful for the second September chance. Something the Senior Varsity Track members will not get. However, you can see Panthers on the tracks of Texas in the Fall as Kalen Barlow runs for UT Tyler and Zach Henry will sport Purple to represent the Tarleton Texans. 

“ I know as a runner how disappointing this must be for these runners who would have already put in many miles and finished the majority of their training for the April race when they found out it was canceled,” Ms. Jones said. “If I had made the cut-off for this year’s race, I would have been extremely disappointed to have to wait 5 months longer for something I had worked hard towards and anticipated for so long!”

But Jones and others, as true athletes do, will lace up those shoes again and know that they can go the distance, regardless of disappointments and setbacks.