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Spokane runner to take on virtual Boston Marathon

Travis Frank qualified for the Boston Marathon before it was canceled by the coronavirus pandemic.

SPOKANE, Wash — A lot of people may think of running as just a form of exercise or a tool to stay in shape.

For others, it is way more than that. It's a lifestyle and passion that burns so strong it constantly drives them to push their mind and body to new limits.

“So many mornings I wake up and I don’t feel like running,” explained long time runner Travis Frank. “I know that if I get out there and do it I’m going to feel better at the end and I always do.”

Frank was set for a big year. After previous attempts to qualify for the Boston Marathon, 2020 was finally his chance to compete in one of the world's most important races.

That was before COVID-19 canceled the event.

“Qualifying for that race and getting in was something that every runner dreams of,” he expressed. “For this to be my first one it was something I was really looking forward to.”

Countless hours of training now felt like they were going to waste. He kept running but it just didn’t feel the same anymore.

That’s when Travis noticed anxiety and depression taking over his thoughts. His mental health was taking a hit from all of the cancellations and closures.

“So three weeks ago I just told my work I needed to go out to Oregon and just get out in the mountains. I don’t know why. It was just something telling me I needed to go and I kind of just found myself out there.”

While battling through some of his lowest moments, Frank is now committed to run his own Boston Marathon here in Spokane.

Next Sunday he’ll run 26.2 miles. The same distance he would complete in Boston. 

With him will be a team on bikes, aiding him along the way with water, nutrition, and any support needed.

He knows the atmosphere will be different but it’s still an opportunity to do what he set out to accomplish.

Most importantly, it’s another way to take care of his mental health.

“It’s important that everyone check in on your friends and see how they’re doing,” said Frank. “Make sure they are alright because you don’t know what they’re going through right now.”

This year he is settling for the virtual option, but the plan is to be in Boston for the real thing in 2021.