Students react to cancellation of Bearathon race tradition

Several proud finishers smile for a photo after their half marathon at the 2017 Bearathon. This year, the Bearathon has been cancelled due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns. Lariat File Photo

By Lucy Ruscitto | Staff Writer

Baylor Student Foundation and Bearathon Race Directors cancelled the 2020 Bearathon Friday due to the recent COVID-19 warnings and the extension of Baylor students’ spring break until March 23.

“We did not make this decision lightly but did so with the safety and well-being of all participants at the forefront of our decision making,” Student Foundation said.

Students from all corners of campus were training for months for “The Toughest Half in TX,” putting in countless hours and effort in order to compete on March 21.

Placentia, Calif., freshman Taylor Becker was one of the many students preparing for the race whose goal was curtailed.

“I was super sad when it was canceled,” Becker said. “It was disappointing knowing that I’ve been training for this for three months, and I won’t get to accomplish this goal.”

Morgan Hill, Calif., sophomore, Justin Yu said he is understanding of Student Foundation’s reasoning, despite initial disappointment.

“After I considered the current situation in the United States, I think it was the right choice for Student Foundation to consider the health and safety of their runners,” Yu said.

Becker said she began at lower mileage, such as two 3-mile runs, one 4-mile run and one 5-mile run a week, then progressively increased the distance with one longer run each week.

“I usually built in one cross training session per week, whether that was intramural basketball or HIIT training,” Becker said. “I continued with my normal healthy-ish eating, but focused more on protein. I also emphasized recovery and made sure to stretch every day.”

Like Becker, Yu also began to implement new dietary and exercise changes in order to prepare for the race.

“I ran four days a week with two days of cross training, anything exercise not running, and one day rest. I started to monitor what I ate, choosing to avoid any excessive fatty foods and extra calorie foods,” Yu said.

Becker said she had chosen to run the Bearathon in order to fulfill a long-time aspiration of her own.

“A half marathon is something I’ve always wanted to do, and what better place to do it than Baylor,” Becker said. “The idea of being able to run my first half marathon with a bunch of friends made the decision even easier.”

Student Foundation has noted the monetary impact the cancellation of the race has had on their students, and are “certainly considering the opportunity to provide partial refunds for registered runners.”

“I hope, especially if we bought the registration insurance, that at least some money will be refunded,” Becker said.

Yu said he hopes that Student Foundation considers this potential discount to registered runners in the future.

COVID-19 has not only affected students in terms of their presence on campus, but their participation in other Baylor activities and traditions as well.

Yu said that he experienced this after arriving home from South Padre Island Mission Trip with Baylor Baptist Student Ministries. He witnessed panic rising from COVID-19, as well as the major cancellation of schools in the local area where he was serving.

“It kind of feels as though we’re not getting our full freshman year experience. It’s also hard watching things other people have worked all year toward just get cancelled. Especially as a nursing major who will only be in Waco for a few semesters, its been pretty sad,” Becker said. “However, I feel like it has definitely made me more thankful for the wonderful memories I’ve made at Baylor so far.”