• Mark Villani



It’s just one word to describe how I’m feeling right now.

After months of training and running more than a thousand miles, I can’t help but feel disappointed to hear the news that I won’t be able to run a marathon this spring.

I won't have my finish line moment. I won't have the opportunity.. at least this time... to attempt a qualifying run for the Boston Marathon.

On Wednesday, the Hamburg Marathon announced it would be postponing its event due to concerns surrounding the novel Coronavirus and its spread.

It’s a decision that I fully support because I understand the health and safety of everyone is far more important than one single event... or in this case...pretty well every single marathon in the entire world!

This is about more than just “running” — it’s about the protection of our families and friends at a time when some people in this world are in a vulnerable state.

This is an uncomfortable feeling. While most people might be thrilled about not having to run 42.2 kilometres, I’m still reluctant to smile.

I’m a weird egg. I would much rather put my body through the grueling pain of running this race because it’s more about the process than the temporary feeling of discomfort during a marathon.

This process of training has been an amazing time in my life. I’ve grown in the past six months to realize that through good days and bad, I can still power through some of the most difficult moments.

This is one of those moments. The world is practically on lockdown. In fact, the entire country of Denmark went on lockdown this week.

I was supposed to visit that country next month, but this now means that my entire trip will have to be cancelled.

Gatherings of more than 250 people in Alberta are cancelled. The NHL, NBA, NLL, MLB, MLS, and PGA Tour are suspending their seasons.


The point is... these are things that are entirely out of our control and sometimes those are the hardest things to accept in life.

Running has been “my life” for the last few years. It’s what’s helped me calm down when I’m anxious and what’s motivated me to be not just a better athlete, but also a better person.

I’m crushed that I don’t have a race to look forward to anymore. I feel like all this training was “all for nothing,” but I know that’s not true at all.

There will be other races and I will run another marathon eventually. I won't give up and I'll still put in the miles.

I’m now running, not for a particular race, but for the fun of it. I actually enjoyed my run just a little bit more today because I knew it wasn’t to complete it in a certain time or to feel overly exhausted — it was to clear my head.

And lately it feels like my mind has been taking trips of its own during the Coronavirus outbreak.

As a journalist, I’m well informed with the ongoing updates on the number of COVID-19 cases, the preventative measures and the panic that often goes with a virus now deemed a pandemic by the World Health Organization.

I find at times, I’m being accused for fueling a society of “fear mongering” in my news reports.

I posted this video in particular this week at a local Costco in Calgary where dozens of people stocked up on toilet paper.

Yes... panic buying is a real thing... even here in Calgary.

The video has received more than 465,000 views on Twitter and counting and hundreds of comments, but again I’m criticized for broadcasting a particularly strange occurrence in my community.

It’s happening in your community.

It’s a fact and the so called “media” isn’t telling you to stock up on TP.

Yet still, "the media" is criticized for reporting too much on the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Oh, give it a rest!"

"Who cares"

"There will be a vaccine soon"

"It only targets old people"

"Stop reporting about this and freaking people out!"

These are just some of the 'nicer' comments I've received online. I think it's wonderful to see this kind of engagement no matter what your opinion is or how you feel about this situation.

...But rest assured, we won't stop reporting about this.

When the stock market drops trillions of dollars... when every major sports league in the world suspends play... when entire countries close their borders... when major events around the world are cancelled... when major airlines and cruise lines are brought to their knees... when thousands are forced into quarantine....

Who cares?

YOU DO.... because every single person in the world is affected by this.

The criticism comes with the territory of being a journalist, but let’s remember that we’re all human beings.

We’re all in this together.

I report the unbiased facts and that allows you (the viewer, the reader, the listener) to interpret them in whichever way you see fit.

You also have thousands of outlets to turn to as a way of informing yourself of what’s going on.

Choose wisely.

If you still want to plaster this negative label of “the media” onto every news outlet that might not align with your views, then go ahead... but I encourage you to get informed.

One size fits all reporting is impossible, but the most trusted sources aren’t trying to over-exaggerate or sensationalize.

Again, we report the facts.

Prevention of this virus starts with education and awareness so REMAIN CALM and conduct best practices.

- Wash your hands frequently

- Don’t go into work if you feel sick and self-isolate if necessary

- Cover coughs and sneezes

- Avoid touching your face

The world isn't "cancelled".... this isn't the "apocalypse"... and this surely isn't a time to lose your mind.

This is a time to show just how tough we really and to come together -- perhaps not physically -- but instead through other powerful connections.

Take the time to check in on a loved one, to help someone buy groceries, or to simply give a compliment or send a message of love.

My heart might be broken, but it will heal.

I'll be back in the streets of Hamburg to cross that finish line again... I promise.

39 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All