Olympic hopeful and running community finding creative ways to compete during pandemic

National

Runner Elaina Tabb and her husband, Brian Tabb, organized a race in Boston on Labor Day

The postponement of the Tokyo Olympics and the coronavirus pandemic are forcing many athletes to get creative with their training.

With many sporting events shut down, it’s also forced them to get creative in how they compete.

An Olympic hopeful, Elaine Tabb, and her husband Brian took matters into their own hands to give athletes a chance to compete.

Fellow runner Emily Lipari was coming off of her best indoor track season when the news broke: Tokyo 2020 would now happen in 2021.

“You were four months away from being so locked into this goal that you had set for years, and then you have to now readjust it for 18 months later, which is sometimes a hard mental shift,” Lipari said.

Lipari refused to let the change get her off track. She refocused and had her best summer training season.

However, she was missing something: competition.

“I just wanted to get out there, wanted to race, wanted to break up the routine a little,” Lipari said.

That’s where her friends, Elaina and Brian Tabb, come in.

Elaina is also a professional runner. She said, “I was getting really fit, there were no races on the schedule and Brian’s idea was like, ‘why don’t we put on a race?'”

That was a conversation they had in July. They decided to host a race in just months on Labor Day.

The Tabbs got to work securing a track, lining up medical staff, getting sponsors, creating COVID-19 safety measures and more.

Brian, who was the race director, said, “I didn’t realize how much work it would be, so it was easier to take one piece at a time.”

Those pieces came together with 50 athletes, mostly elite, competing in different events throughout the afternoon.

“It was really cool to see a good friend of mine have her husband like put on the race,” Lipari said.

Athletes were grateful for the chance to compete.

“It gives you something to train for and to get to that next level in workouts and having those short term goals makes training a lot more manageable and a lot more fun,” Elaina said.

Brian said, “The start of it was for Elaina, but the end of it resulted, the end result ended up benefiting so many more people than I could’ve imagined so it’s fun to think about that way.”

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