JACKSON TWP. Running can be a solitary sport, especially distance running.
Even at the high school and college levels, where track and cross country add a team component to the mix, those who run a mile or more largely compete on their own. It's a reality that is making life a small bit easier for Jackson senior distance runner Alex Regas, who is doing his best to stay in shape and remain optimistic about the chances that he and his teammates will have some semblance of a season this school year.
"It hasn't been completely easy to know for me and some of guys on team that we might not get to have a senior season," Regas said. "It's definitely frustrating, but it's also nice to have some hope that there's still a chance we have a season. It would be hard to get motivated if you're not going to be working toward something."
Holding out that hope helps and knowing that the decision hasn't yet been made to call off the season and the rest of the school year leaves room for that hope and with that in mind, Regas is doing what he can to stay in good shape during his time away from school and while he stays at home and practices social distancing.
Running has become a go-to for many looking to work on their fitness during this time, even those who normally wouldn't lace up a pair of Brooks running shoes and log a few miles on the road. Being able to exercise without equipment and do so solo while keeping a safe distance from others makes running an idea option and it's one Regas has utilized as much as possible.
"You try to find one or two other guys and go out and run," he said. "It's definitely nice to get out, especially with so much free time now and nothing else to do."
The Jackson coaching staff has sent out workouts for runners to do at home and having something familiar to enjoy during this time has been helpful. While he and his friends stay in touch, he also sees social media posts from other athletes and students talking about missing out on various school activities.
School dances, theater performances, sporting events and even graduation have been thrown into a state of suspended animation and the past few days, even summer plans have begun to take a hit and seen their effects discussed online.
"It's really upsetting and it's a big loss ... it's hard for a lot of us to grasp that we're going to lose those experiences, but I think at the end of the day most kids understand those are sacrifices you have to make because this is a much bigger thing," Regas said. "On social media you can see everyone making a tweet or post and this week, a lot of kids have had their summer camps canceled and they're upset about that."
He and the rest of his senior teammates are grappling with the idea that they may have run their final race for Jackson and for Regas, his final one in a team setting. He'll attend Ohio State this fall, but won't run for the Buckeyes, so he'll have to shift his running to road races and says he could try half marathons or marathons at some point in the future. There's also a group chat with many area runners that he's a part of and the group has kicked around the idea of holding a big race of some kind this summer.
But still, knowing that he may not get to put on the purple and gold again and chase the goals he had for his senior season ... that's tough to digest.
"That's definitely really upsetting because i was hoping to get my school's record in the mile, so it's a sad thought to think I've raced my last race," Regas said.
Running is unique among sports because it offers lifelong chances to compete and battle the best of the best, but Regas knows that it will never again be quite like is has been during his high school career and as he holds on to hope that his career has a few more races left, all he can do is keep logging miles, staying healthy and hoping for the best.