Skip links

Streaking with Emily Altman


As I sit down to write this blog post, it is Day 1,413 of my Covid-19 Running Streak.

The odometer reads 15,366 miles

DAY 1: MONDAY, MARCH 23, 2020

New York City was locked down. 😷

Something inconceivable was happening and the future was uncertain, unclear, and indeed very scary. 

I recall my apprehension.  Despite the thick cloud of fear looming over me, I rationalized the following:

I may lose my job, all of my savings, my apartment and my life.  But, there is one thing that the situation can not take from me:  the ability to put on my sneakers and go running. 


The pandemic would not stop me from running.  I focused on this mantra as I started to run every day.  I decided I would run every day until Covid was gone.  

In my mind, each daily run represented one more chunk of 24 hours of survival.  Between each run I navigated the horror of going to work at a hospital. 

I estimated that we’d make it through it all in around 3-6 months.  It did not work out that way.  Covid-19 is still with us, and will be for the duration, but we have figured out how to exist with it.

There was so much uncertainty.  What would be the definition of Covid-19 being over?  When I can drive to Massachusetts with New York plates?  Fly in an airplane?  Ride a train?  Stay in a hotel?  Attend a conference?  Eat at a restaurant?  Go to someone's house?  Go see a movie?

Gradually over the months and years we all began to do those things again…but Covid-19 was not gone.  So I kept running....  Every single day.

In time, I began to create challenges within the overall challenge of running every day.  They have included things such as:  The Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee 2020 and 2021, a marathon in November 2021, running 100 miles in a week, getting to certain average-per-day milestones, beating previously achieved yearly mileage totals, and more!


In general, my focus is on miles only.  I don't do speed work and I don't really care about pace.  The one exception was when I chose to run a marathon.  I did about 3 months of weekly speedwork sessions.  When I ran the Northern Central Railroad Trail Marathon in November of 2021 I did not meet my own time goal, but I did qualify for Boston!  I then forgot to enter during the "window".  Oops. 🤣

I go through phases of setting slightly different mileage goals, based on nothing very scientific...mostly "I wonder if I can do...this...or that".  My pace doesn't vary much.  So far, knock wood, I have remained injury free.  It does help that I am a physical therapist so I have a pretty good sense of the status of my own "machine."

Dome of Silence with Amy

I run many many miles alone, but I have also run hundreds of miles with my good friend and running buddy and longtime Flyer Amy Stern.  When I'm alone, I think mostly about the projects I am immersed in at work.  I am convinced that more oxygen is getting to my brain because I figure out a lot of things while I'm running.  When I'm with Amy, we talk about so many things.  We run in what we call the "Dome of Silence."  Anything that is said in the Dome is OK, and will not be judged or repeated elsewhere (what happens in the Dome, stays in the Dome 😊)!!  Also, of course, very many miles with running partner/life partner Ed Altman. 💕

Have there been threats to the streak? 🌋  Yes!  Apologies for TMI, but, the biggest challenge was navigating a routine colonoscopy.  For those who know, you know!  I ran 3 miles on a treadmill at 2:00 a.m., in between doses, on the day of the procedure.  Not so bad.  

There were other minor challenges like a snow storm ⛄ and a day-long family event, but I have always been able to eke out at least 2 miles.

  • Before the streak I was happily running 5 days a week, 6-8 miles each run.
  • Yes, there are quite a few days that I am not excited about going running.
  • I ran with a mask for an entire year.
  • For 2 years I ran only counter clockwise on “the loop” so I could be on the outside and could move away from oncoming runners.
  • I run early in the morning, starting at 4:30am on some days and up to 6:15am on other days.
  • I use 8.5 pairs of shoes per year.

Truth be told, I may have a tendency toward streak-like behavior. 🤣  

From grade 10 - 12 I ran 10 miles per day with my best friend Michelle. 🏃🏃  

Michelle and me

And for the past 27.5 years, I have shown up, on premises, for work every single day without one unplanned day off.  Not one sick day or unable-to-show up day! 🤧

Run Distribution:

Miles/day Frequency


People often ask: "When will you end it?"  It will end.  That is for sure.  Something will come up, something will happen.  I don't worry about it and I will not be upset.  In the meantime, I just keep going.  It has very much become a part of my life and I like the consistency of it.  

Many elements of my day-to-day life are challenging and unpredictable.  Running helps offset that element.  Although I am often tired, I like the sense of solid baseline fitness.  My streak was absolutely a critical anchor to windward during the intense, horrible days of the first 2 years of Covid-19.  And I remain eternally grateful for running as an extremely important part of my life.

-Emily Altman