Admittedly, 2020 has provided something of a challenge for all of us. I'm thankful that so many members of the extended family that reads this blog have been able to safely weather - for the most part- this pandemic in relatively good health.
Many of us know someone whose live has been forever changed by the events of 2020, and the quarantine that has forced all of us to adapt our lifestyles to stay safe, healthy, and sane together as we try to muddle our way through this challenging stretch of time.
For more than two decades, the extended family of EStreeter runners have been showing up on Parkhurst Road in Chelmsford to participate in the annual tradition of the John Carson Fourth of July two-mile road race sponsored by Sullivan Farms in Tyngsboro.
It has annually been a ritual that signals the commencement of the lazy days of summer, but it's always provided a gathering place for all of us to celebrate our families, and the growing numbers within those families.
It's never been about a two-mile run, it's been about gathering together (along with a couple of thousand of other runners) to have some fun and celebrate the fact that we're still able to do so.
Which brings us to 2020.
Sadly, the race was yet another casualty of gatherings during this global pandemic, leaving many of us with finding a way to still try to maintain some semblance of normalcy in the midst of all this upheaval.
And so it came to pass, that a small handful of EStreeters gather today, as we do every Fourth of July, in the parking lot of Einstein Bros. Bagels in Chelmsford to maintain the tradition and log some miles on the Carson course.
In a socially distancing, safe manner, of course.
And as always, its an opportunity to break out our Captain America swag.
Carlos grabbed what was most likely his best pole position for the start of one of these Carson races ever. Ben and Andrew, would, as always, be watching from behind in a Carlos Group Run. As irony would have it, we passed John Carson's dad riding his bicycle on the course within the first half mile of our outing. Good for him!
There was definitely a different feel along North Road this a.m. We weren't the only runners out there, either. There were easily a couple of dozen others, all doing their thing and respecting one another's distance.
Not sure if this was a Scouting troop or a church group, but bravo to the young, old and animals of all sizes patriotic parade that we encountered at the one mile mark.
Sadly, Mrs. Piekos was not at her perennial post, waiting to capture our pics as we flashed past her. She's been a stalwart at that post since the earlier days of the race, and we have the pics to prove it!
Patriotism comes in all shapes, and sizes.
Bumped into Wink McCarty logging his mileage, as always out by Chelmsford Center. Wise in his years, he had Donut Shack donuts waiting for him at his journey's end.
Strange not seeing all of the lawn chairs tied together along North Road.
There were, however, a handful of folks gathered on lawns cheering us on, not to mention the inordinate amount of people who beeped and cheered at us as they passed. It was actually pretty rewarding, if we're being honest.
Here's to hoping the numbers will back out there in 2021, and this virus will be in all of our rear view mirrors.
In the meantime, here's some of the oldest blog pics we have from this blog and this event, tracking back to the blog's relaunching in 2009.
Enjoy the day, everyone, and stay safe and socially distant at those cookouts!
Celebrate your independence and freedom, but remember to do it safely and smartly!