has become as familiar as running for marathoner Chantal
Dagostino after the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled and
postponed the events she organizes to share her love
of running and fitness.
The teacher and mom is
feeling “demotivated” without the Girls
Run 2020 and FitSpirit events to host.
She will bring the Girls
Run event back in 2021. The event launched in 2015.
FitSpirit won’t prove so easy. Dagostino says
the Quebec-based non-profit has closed its operations
She feels sad and empty
because she can’t organize a race or see people
out being active.
“I feel there’s
a piece of me missing that I cannot find right now
— which is to organize something for the city,
something that is helpful and active.”
It feels like there’s
nothing really to look forward to, she says.
“At this point
it’s now to find the reason we’re doing
it. Sometimes it’s competition, but at the same
time, it’s for the enjoyment of it. For some
people, the time we spend training is what makes it
For Dagostino, part of
the fun was also in the organizing.
In addition to the Girls
Run, she also coordinated FitSpirit, which had five
locations in Ontario. The Quebec-based non-profit
designed programs to help teenage girls to remain
physically active their entire lives. In mid-April
FitSpirit cancelled all its events in Quebec, Ontario
as to how it will continue and Quebec’s economy
will have to be rebuilt first, she says.
Dagostino expects to
continue with FitSpirit on a smaller scale, she adds.
Fall 2020 is looking
to be a time to catch up on racing, so Dagostino decided
not to attempt the Girls Run then instead of its usual
Dagostino was supposed
to run the BMW Berlin Marathon in September. Germany
has prohibited events with more than 5,000 people
until at least Oct. 4. Marathon organizers say on
their website that they are working to “co-ordinate
Instead, Dagostino hopes
to run the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon,
set for Oct. 18.
She doesn’t want
to take anyone’s date in the fall to host the
Sudbury Girls Run day.
“There are so many
uncertainties with what’s going on. They could
decide to cancel everything in the fall. I don’t
And then there were the
Wednesday night runs for women only, which Dagostino
launched with running friend Tricia Goeldner in 2019.
Those runs are currently on hold, but she says to
look on Facebook for updates.
As for her own running,
Dagostino had been recovering from bone spurs in her
left heel, which kept her off her feet until late
January, when her specialist gave the all-clear to
start again, slowly, she says.
After riding a cycling
trainer most of the winter, Dagostino is back to running
about 70 kilometres a week.
Life as an athlete during
a pandemic has been a big learning curve for everyone,
she says. Still, it’s not about dropping things
but finding alternatives and holding herself accountable,
There’s the challenge
of having both kids at home while trying to teach
her St. Charles College classes over a wonky computer.
She lives outside urban Sudbury and misses flatter
areas to run.
Under the pandemic, she
won’t complain as she has friends who live in
larger cities and who can’t get outside to run
because there are too many people.
Last year, she ran the
Boston Marathon for the fourth time, finishing with
a best-ever 3:39.20.
She was happy with that
time considering that Kathleen Dagostino, her mother-in-law,
had died at the end of January 2019, and the winter
had been hard for running with all the snow.
Follow Laura Young on
Twitter at @LauraEYoung2.