“It’s a strange feeling to have gone from running with a group every weekend for over five years, to not seeing the vast majority for a year.” – Stephen Adjaidoo
The pandemic has done this – replaced the regular rhythms of our lives with a silent emptiness. “Well, what do we do now?” Many of us asked ourselves. Routine was so embedded in our days that it was invisible, until it disappeared, that is.
The collective loss of the structure and community sport offers was hard to take, especially as the world around us became increasingly chaotic. As athletes, we lost things unique to our lives that might to many seem trivial – races were cancelled, group rides postponed, post-run coffee dates relegated to the “things we used to do” category. It felt wrong to mourn the loss of these things when there was so much true loss in the world. But the change in the way we exercise still hurt.
It made us question the foundations of the things we’d built our proverbial houses on – why do we ride in the early hours of the morning? Why do we push ourselves to our limits and beyond to break arbitrary time barriers? And why did so many of us, rather than rejecting the physical discomfort of sport during this time of intense pain of a different kind, choose instead to embrace it anew? To bring our running shoes out of a 20-year retirement and persuade our lockdown partner that Zoom yoga class were really worth the awkwardness.
We wanted to look back at the way sport has changed for us all over the last 12 months and what it has taught us about the reasons why we move our bodies. So we asked athletes to share their experiences of sport in the times of COVID. Here are a selection of responses from the community.
If you have a story of the way sport has changed for you in these last 12 months, we’d love to hear it. You can share it with us here.