How the Government Shutdown is Hurting Runners

Training grounds are closed, and some major races are being canceled

800,000 federal workers aren't getting paid, low-income food programs are underfunded and, if the shutdown drags on into the coming weeks, the VA could run out of money for disability payouts and GI bill students, and some running races around the country are on the verge of being canceled.  

OK, so that last one’s not so bad. But while the shutdown that began last Tuesday is certainly impacting more critical parts of our nation’s day-to-day functioning, it's also hitting some runners pretty hard.

Besides hurting tourism in cities and towns nearby the country's 401 shuttered national parks and monuments, the shutdown has also displaced local athletes from their favorite training routes and, in a few cases, threatens to cancel races whose courses pass through federal land.

Just this past weekend, for instance, the Jersey Shore Half Marathon, which was to be held Sunday in Sandy Hook's Gateway National Park, was canceled. Fortunately, registered runners are being allowed to defer their entries for next year's event. Still, for those who put in months of hard work leading up to the race, the news certainly came as a major disappointment

Directors of the Freedom's Run Marathon, scheduled to run through national parks in both West Virginia and Maryland on Oct. 12, say they will plan an alternative course, if necessary, to avoid cancellation of the race.

Runners registered for the Oct. 13 Towpath Marathon in Cuyahoga Valley National Park could still be out of luck if the government doesn't end its stalemate by the end of this week. Race organizers may cancel or even postpone the race, but for now its future is as uncertain as that of the shutdown itself.