Each week we interview members of our community to learn how the Coronavirus pandemic has impacted their lives, and how they are adapting in these challenging times. Our quarantine interviewees are healthcare workers, small business owners, students, parents, service industry employees, and, of course, runners. We hope that by sharing the stories of our neighbors we can find inspiration, solidarity, and connection as a community in the coming weeks and months. Please enjoy! 

For the fifth installment of the series we catch up with Ian Curtis. Ian is a senior at Hellgate High School, a distance runner and team captain for the cross country and track programs, a guitar player, a cyclist, a skier and much more. Read on to learn more about how Ian is maintaining a positive outlook, and staying connected to his team, amidst the uncertainty of his last season as a high school athlete.

Ian competing in the 2019 Bozeman XC Invitational

Thanks for joining the quarantine Q&A! First off, how old are you and how long have you lived in Missoula?

I am 18 years old and I was born and raised in Missoula. 

As a high school track athlete, what event (meet) were you most looking forward to this season? Has the season been canceled officially?

I was really looking forward both to the Arcadia Invitational in California, and the Montana state track meet. Arcadia was cancelled due to covid 19, but we have not heard officially about the state meet. There is still a small chance that we can have a short track season if school resumes.

What goals have you set for this track season, individually, and as a team?

My personal goal was to win the state championship in the 1600 meters or the 3200 meters. The Hellgate distance team was hoping to have as many all-state finishers as possible.

Are you staying motivated to train amidst this uncertainty? If so, how?

My motivation to do intervals on the track has been slightly lessened without definitive plans for a season. That said, I remain very motivated to train for the Double Dip, and for next fall’s collegiate cross country season.   

Are you doing workouts at home? If so, how are you getting creative?

As far as workouts at home, Courtney Babcock has been continuing to lead the team in strength training twice a week via Instagram live. Our coach, Anders Brooker provides us with a weekly training plan. I have been doing workouts on the river bowl track and the Kim Williams, and running some trails that are not accessible from Hellgate.    

What’s been the biggest challenge to keeping up with your running during this time?

Running has been something that I really look forward to during this time, but doing workouts alone is definitely a challenge. I miss running with my teammates and being able to go to practice every day. 

What are some of the largest ways that the COVID crisis has changed your life in recent weeks?  For school, are you taking online classes?

Yes, I have been continuing my classes at Hellgate online. I would say the biggest change is that there is no school, and subsequently no running practice. I have also started to rethink my college plans because of the uncertainty created by the covid pandemic. If schools are unable to reopen in the fall, I might opt to take a gap year. 

Are there any silver linings or positive moments you have experienced due to the COVID crises you would like to share?

In the absence of school, I have been able to do quite a bit of skiing and mountain biking in addition to running that I otherwise could not have done. I have also been getting more sleep. The extra time spent outside and adequate rest have greatly improved my outlook and mental wellbeing. 

Where are you finding inspiration right now? (books, music, podcasts, people, etc.)

I am very inspired by seeing my friends and teammates continue to train and remain positive through this period of isolation. Also, the Pengelly Double Dip has been moved to August instead of being canceled. That is extremely exciting and inspires me to train.

How are you connecting with others during quarantine and social distancing? Are you staying in touch with your team?

We have a team meeting on zoom every week. I keep in touch with the team as best I can, but it can be difficult.

What does the Missoula running community (or specifically, your team) mean to you during this time?

I am very grateful for the Hellgate distance program, and the incredible support provided by my coaches and teammates. Even though social running events have been suspended during the pandemic, it is comforting to know that the running community will return stronger than ever. I feel very fortunate to be a part of such a thriving community surrounding running and the outdoors. Thank you to the Runner’s Edge for organizing this, and so many other great events during this time!

We enjoyed getting to hear from Ian and hope you did too! If you think this interview would add value to someone in your life, please consider forwarding this email to them.

Also, if you are enjoying the Quarantine Q&A series, or have a question you would like us to ask our interviewees, let us know! Email Mike@runnersedgemt.com.

This edition of the Quarantine Q&A is brought to you by Sapphire Physical Therapy. Thank you Sapphire for supporting and celebrating these community stories!