These days, Whitney Richman needs a goal in front of her.
Richman, 39 and a mother of two, has never struggled with motivation. An avid runner, she doesn’t need a race ahead of her to get out on the trails.
But amid the isolation and anxiety many are experiencing as a result of COVID-19, the Midlothian resident has found solace in the pursuit of her next achievement.
“It definitely makes a difference in my level of anxiety, especially during all this stuff,” she said. “And it [running] is my only alone time during the day. I can’t go to the gym, my son isn’t going to preschool.”
Richman last Saturday became the first documented runner to traverse the length of the Virginia Capital Trail from Richmond to Williamsburg and back within a 24-hour span—102.93 miles.
She finished the journey in 17 hours, 32 minutes and 22 seconds, beginning around 7 a.m. at Great Shiplock Park and returning a little before 1 a.m. Sunday.
Richman in May ran the fastest recorded time for a single length of the Virginia Capital Trail, 52 miles from Richmond to Williamsburg in 7 hours and 41 minutes. Shortly after, she began planning to run twice the distance.
“I think a lot of people are probably thinking ‘Why would I wreck my body that much?’ for something that’s not a race,” she said. “But I want a goal. Just like the last time, I need a goal for myself. And why not see if I can do double?”
Richman is in her fourth year coaching the marathon training program for Sports Backers and had a team of “six or seven” fellow running coaches and friends help her along the way. Some ran with her, another biked alongside her. They carted around snacks, drinks and a change of shoes, talking her up with positive reinforcement during stops.
“They were just so supportive, positive and helpful,” Richman said, calling the Richmond