By Kira Wood, Correspondent
When COVID-19 shut the world down, it forced everyone to stay home and, for the most part, go into quarantine. This period gave everyone more downtime and forced many people to work, cook, learn, and even exercise from home. Some people took this extra time to start a new hobby, clean every inch of their house, or just relax. Niki Powell, a senior at Embry Riddle majoring in Electrical Engineering, took this opportunity to cross off something on her bucket list: running a marathon.
Powell originally started training for her first marathon about thirteen weeks before quarantine with the help of a friend’s training plan. As a former track runner in highschool and a current Air Force ROTC cadet, she is not an inexperienced athlete and is used to living a healthy lifestyle. Powell says she enjoys running because it helps her relieve stress. Her main motivation for running a marathon was to deal with the stress associated with her father’s diagnosis with cancer. “I wanted to help and the only way I felt I could and face my problems was through running,” says Powell .
Training for a marathon during quarantine has its pros and cons. Being quarantined helped Powell accomplish her goal faster by giving her more time to run and recover. Her training plan mainly consisted of running three to thirteen miles a day. It restricted her, though, because she could not go to the gym to strength train. She mainly had to rely on her “at-home gym” for working out and running outside. No matter what the weather was, Powell trained every day. “Being in quarantine helped me understand that purpose can be superimposed on all aspects of life,” said Powell.
Powell ran her first marathon on Apr. 27, 2020 from Prescott, AZ to Chino Valley, AZ. She began running at 1 a.m. Even in the early morning, as she was about to begin, she said she was excited and pumped to run, but still half asleep. “What am I doing? This is going to be a blast!” Powell says were her initial thoughts going through her head. Once she began running, all that energy built up in anticipation was released in her legs. “The hardest point was mile fifteen because you get bored, but I had the podcasts going,” said Powell.
Powell finished her first race with a time of four hours and thirty-eight minutes. Her new goal she is working on is running and completing fifteen marathons, all dedicated to her dad’s continuous fight. Powell’s biggest piece of advice to anyone who wants to accomplish a goal is this: “Anything has the potential to be accomplished. Don’t wait for something to go wrong in life to motivate you to achieve your goals.”