MISSION VIEJO, CA —After training bodies and minds for the 2020 Boston Marathon, a group of Mission Viejo runners learned the race was canceled due to coronavirus concerns.
The Wonder Women, as these runners call themselves, could have unlaced their sneakers and hung them up for the duration. Instead, they planned and ran a virtual Boston Marathon right in their backyard.
It takes time and dedication to earn a spot in the famed Boston Marathon. The Wonder Women methodically trained from December of 2019 even as the news filled with questions about a virus in China. As they put in the miles across the streets of Mission Viejo, word of infections were just blurbs in the news. The Boston Marathon held all of their focus as they prepared to race in April 2020.
The group of six women and one man have known each other “for a long time,” a group spokesperson Robyn Hubbard tells Patch. For three of the seven, it would be their first Boston Marathon.
In March, the world shuttered amid coronavirus concerns. The Boston Marathon was postponed until September, officials said. Then, COVID ultimately claimed the Boston Marathon as another victim of the pandemic, the world-famous marathon canceled for the first time in 124 years. News of the cancelation was devastating, a spokesperson for the group tells Patch.
“We first heard about the marathon being postponed due to COVID, and were not deterred,” Hubbard tells Patch.
Like the rest of the world, they took a break from everything during the coronavirus shutdown, sheltering at home. Slowly at first, then gaining speed over the next 12 weeks, they readied themselves to race in September. Then, the marathon shared their bitter news.
Anger, disappointment, heartache, devastation were just a few of the group’s mutual emotions, Hubbard says. “After a few days of grieving, we picked ourselves up off the floor, laced up our shoes, and kept on training.”
They chose their route from the 241/Portola to Newport Beach Back Bay.
“We trained together for nearly ten months,” Hubbard says. “We became a family, supporting each other through injury, being down about the race’s circumstances, holding each other up in our accomplishments, and becoming a team of Wonder Women!”
Crossing that virtual finish line after the planning and preparation meant everything to the group, Patch was told. What they have gone through cemented bonds of friendship that will never be broken.
“I am blessed to have had these women by my side,” Hubbard said, “Each of them are my sole sister.”
This article originally appeared on the Mission Viejo Patch