Petra Halbgebauer was a little sore Monday morning, looking forward to some stretching, yoga, and time in the hot tub, but she was still on a high from completing one of her long-time dreams.
On Sunday, she ran a marathon. Her first, and probably her last.
Although she started at her Garrison Village home and ran 26.2 miles (42.195 kilometres) along the Niagara River Recreation Trail, past the Queenston Lewiston Bridge to the Niagara Gorge parking lot, and back home, she was participating in the virtual Cleveland Marathon, for which she had trained, and was scheduled to take place Sunday.
It wasn’t what she had imagined when she signed up for the event, but in return for missing out on that experience due to COVID-19, she was cheered on by many friends and family, and had someone alongside her — two metres away, of course — for the entire four hours and forty-seven minutes. One friend had even made posters of Cleveland landmarks for her to see as she passed by. It was an enormous boost from a mental perspective, she says, allowing her to chat throughout the run.
With water stations every two miles, organized by her husband Cort Day, and manned by a group of friends, she says she mentally broke the run into segments between stations, with a mantra of “just two more miles” to keep her going.
“Physically, it wasn’t that hard. My body held up quite well,” she says — pretty good for a first marathon just months from her 50th birthday.
She began running with a friend in 2008, and decided she wanted to do a marathon for her 50th, and with that accomplishment behind her, she says she doesn’t think she’ll do it again.
Training, she says, “becomes pretty much all-consuming.”
Trying to fit it in around life, family and work can be difficult, and now she’s done it, she doesn’t feel she will need to do it again.
She used an app to record her run, supplied by the Cleveland Marathon, which shows she officially completed the virtual event, with her very own finish line, which she crossed in tears at the sight of a team of supporters waiting for her.
She had been visualizing the finish line, she says, and was surprised, and overcome with emotion, to see so many of her friends so excited to see her realize her dream.
“It was great to feel the love and support, with everybody doing their physical distancing. It was very overwhelming!”