Longing to get back on track: COVID-19 through the eyes of an athlete


Brenna Cohoon

Taken at Iowa State University, the coronavirus has me wondering if my next race will be as a Mustang or a Cyclone.

A strong sense of excitement, uncertainty and anxiety filled my coach’s classroom Thursday afternoon as my teammates and I awaited the news of our track season in regards to COVID-19.

We knew that some things were going to change. We still had hope that they wouldn’t.

At that time we were informed that our meets over the weekend were still scheduled to take place. Friday’s races would be held without any spectators, and it was assumed that Saturday would be the same. As more and more news was being released about the coronavirus, the future of our season appeared to be ominous, but nothing was final.

Nevertheless, we went through our typical pre-meet routine that day in a solid frame of mind, trusting that everything would be just fine. We didn’t think the coronavirus would actually impact us directly — we never expected the chain of events that followed.

On Thursday evening, Friday’s meet was cancelled. Friday morning, Saturday’s meet was cancelled. A few hours later, the entire rest of our indoor track season was cancelled.

Initially, I was more shocked than I was disappointed with everything. Later Friday evening, though, the sadness settled in. I didn’t think that what was happening was fair, and as a senior, this was not what I pictured my last track season of high school to look like.

I began to think about all of my goals that would remain untouched, my dreams that were being shattered before my eyes. I tried to calm myself down with the reassurance that my outdoor track season was still a “maybe.” It was then, and it still is today.

Track is an odd sport in that it begins at the end of winter and continues through the remainder of the school year. For this, I am grateful. Instead of losing all opportunities to race this year, I only missed out on a couple of meets over the next few weeks.

As much as these missed experiences are difficult to process, I am holding out hope that we will have an outdoor season. However, I believe that everything happens for a reason. If we do not get the chance to race again, then we can learn from our disappointment and grow in different ways.

Above all, my main goal at this point isn’t to run a specific time or finish in a particular place at any races. My goal is to carry a positive attitude through every day spent in quarantine and make the most of every challenge that continues to present itself. I want to run with joy, leaving behind all of the difficulties being thrown my way.