Andrew Buikema, a Rockford, Mich. runner and race director, was continuing his years-long quest to qualify for the Boston Marathon — and completely crushing his training runs — when COVID-19 changed everything. But the pandemic only fueled his already-high motivation, even after his goal race was postponed — twice.

“I’ve been putting in way more mileage than I ever have in my entire life,” says Andrew, who has two daughters and has been teaching his fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students virtually the past couple of months. “I want to keep up my fitness, I want to keep up with my ultimate goal of qualifying for Boston, and I want to just make sure I don’t lose what we’ve already worked on. Before the quarantine, I was training for the Carmel Marathon in Indiana, which was set to take place on April 4. I’d never put in so many miles in my life.” 

Andrew running the 2019 Bayshore Marathon.

While Andrew acknowledges that the pandemic and its impact on his race plans “let the wind out of my sails a little bit,” he’s not giving up on his goal of qualifying and is pondering which marathon he’ll tackle to make it happen. “The whole quarantine — it has actually upped my game,” he says.

To listen to this episode, click on the player at the top of this post. Or, download the episode (and subscribe to the show!) using your favorite podcast app.

Zoom podcasting is so much fun.

In this latest episode, Heather and Cassy talk with Andrew about his changing race plans and goals. Also, all three share a love of the Bayshore Marathon, Half Marathon & 10K — a Memorial Day weekend tradition in Traverse City — and reminisce about this beloved event given they recorded the show on the day the race expo would have taken place. Heather also shares a few reader stories of the Bayshore races as well. 

Cassy running the 2013 Bayshore Half Marathon, her first 13.1.
Andrew running the 2015 Bayshore Marathon. He’s about to high five his daughter, Abby, just before mile 18.

Andrew is the co-race director of the Rivertown Races – 5K, 10K & Half Marathon near Grand Rapids. This event originally was set for April of this year and of course couldn’t take place because of the pandemic. Rather than cancel, race organizers chose to postpone until later this summer. They’re making plans for an in-person event the first weekend of August, and Andrew talks about how things obviously will need to be much different now. “We’re making plans for everybody to be at a safe distance.” 

The Rivertown Races, which gives back to several charities in Grand Rapids, hold a special place in Andrew’s heart, which he explains during the conversation. 

Learn more about Rivertown Races here: https://rivertownraces.com/

If you enjoy what you’re hearing on the Michigan Runner Girl show, we’d be so, so grateful if you’d take a few moments to write a review on iTunes. This will help more runners and Michigan lovers like yourself find the podcasts. Thank you!! Also, the quickest way to get the podcasts is to subscribe to the show via iTunes or via Stitcher or your favorite podcast app. 

A special thanks to Mike Moran, Mike Youker and Jonny Tornga of Quarter After Productions in Traverse City, Mich. for producing the show.

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