A Look Back at the Un-Canceled Project

A Look Back at the Un-Canceled Project - Virtual Fitness Challenge Blog | Run The Edge

We are just as sad as you are that the Un-Canceled Project is finished, but fear not — we are hard at work on something bigger and better! In the meantime, we wanted to look back on what you all have accomplished during the twelve weeks of the challenge. Here are just a few of the awesome things people had to say about their experience with the Un-Canceled Project: 


"This project has been a blessing during some uncertain times. Although it’s hot here in the desert, I will say, I enjoyed partaking in these challenges from across the state of Arizona. I was able to push myself even though I was hurting so bad it hurt to move (knee, hip and back problems). But being able to stay active, helps in more ways than not. Thank you for providing such a great event during crazy times."

Chelsey Fowler-Slagle  


"This 12 week project has literally been my mental health outlet. I am a single mom, so since March 13th, I have been homeschooling and working from home. While it was great to spend more time with my daughter, I needed my breaks. The themes gave me a chance to reflect on my priorities, my needs, and most importantly....myself. I'm not sure I would be in the same place if it weren't for RTE and the Un-Cancelled project. Thank you!"

~ Glass Cat

"The whole project has been great. My most memorable moment was Humor week when I run a half marathon in the Florida heat in April wearing a Santa Hat!! It was at the beginning of the Covid restrictions so there were alot of people out walking and running in Tampa. It was great seeing some many people smile, wave, and say Merry Christmas!!!"

~Jason Tregler


"I initially joined the Un-Canceled Project because I had a short time to train for a 1/2 marathon that I was running in honor of my Dad. He took his own life on May 2nd, 2006, one day before his 51st birthday. 

The run was in support of Suicide Awareness and Prevention on May 2nd in Missoula, Montana.  A couple weeks into the Un-Canceled Project, the run was cancelled so I kept training and thinking about alternatives. I decided to run 14 miles. One mile for every year I had lived without him. The longest mileage I had ran at this point was 8 miles so I thought it was going to be a challenge. I listened to my dad's favorite music (Beatles) and just focused on the road in front of me. Every hill that was difficult or mile that I didn't think I could make, I was reminded that I am alive to take that next step and he isn't. My husband met me about 1/3 of the way of the route on his bike. He brought water, a few snacks, and he had rigged up my bike on a trailer. He thought that just in case I didn't think I could finish the run, I could ride my bike to get the mileage and complete my journey.
I made it. I earned the COURAGE 13.1 bib, but those 14.16 miles were healing, and freeing, and energizing. I would give every single step of those miles to have my Dad back for even just the 2 hours and 40 minutes it took me to run it.
Thank you Un-Canceled Project for not only giving me the opportunity to record this accomplishment, but for the group of encouragers that became my cherished running family."
~Betty Franklin

"My Un-Canceled experience brought me comfort and purpose in a time when I really needed it.  The beginning of the year is always difficult for me to get my miles in.  It's cold outside, mostly dark when I'm not at work, and since I'm a procrastinator I use the excuse that I have all year to make up the miles that I am missing in the summer when I actually want to be active.  I always end up finishing on December 31 anyway because there is always something that creeps in like an injury or strong lack of motivation that keeps me on the couch.

Thanks to the Uncanceled Project I had some external motivation and even if that meant doing indoor miles at 10:00 pm just to get another bib and push myself that much harder.  My boyfriend thought I was crazy sometimes running the steps in our duplex in the middle of the night or pacing in the kitchen so he could workout in the basement. 

My dog enjoyed the extra walking, she was thrilled for more and longer walks that she tried to turn into runs; she is an older girl and the vet found arthritis and recommended her not to run which was a blow to us because we've been running together for 7 years and now we can't at all.  She didn't know we were earning bibs and aiming for specific mileage but she sure was encouraging to get those extra steps in. Plus it was a great way for just the two of us to get some time together doing something that we both genuinely enjoy. 

Our lives remained largely uncanceled; both being essential and working on-site, our biggest change was not being able to go out for dinner or do our grocery shopping late at night because the stores had to close to restock. While I know that wasn't everyone's story it was ours, we lost a few races but I never knew how much this project would come to mean to me.

Pretty generic story so far - but that's just the tip of the iceberg. On April 22, we lost my boyfriend's grandma and after almost 5.5 years

I had grown quite attached to her myself. She had so much spunk and a zest for life, it was almost unrealistic. When I met her she was fairly mobile and I progressively watched her lose that mobility from needing no assistance to occasionally needing a cane for steps, to needing a cane all the time, to refusing to do steps at all, transitioning to a walker, total reliance on a walker, and in the end, needing a wheelchair. She was living in an assisted living facility, which for many reasons was a blessing and we could all sleep easier at night knowing that if she needed help all she had to do was tap the button on her wrist and trained medical staff would be there immediately.  What that also meant was that in March, her facility locked down to staff only and no visits.  Prior to that we would be there quite often to visit and keep her company and she was always so happy to see us and talk about her week; but most of all she would talk about how she missed walking and moving on her own in general.

She would almost go back in time and talk about how as a girl she would have to walk to school and if she forgot her lunch she would have to run home in the allotted time to retrieve it before class started again. She never drove so walking was a main mode of transportation for her, unless her husband and later her children and grandchildren would drive her somewhere.  Towards the end she would always say it sure is hard getting old, things don't work the way they used to and always insisted that she would get out of that chair and walk on her own again.  On the evening she passed and we got the call we felt a whirlwind of emotions; sadness and loss, but also frustration and anger because we hadn't been able to see her in so long and she was so weak she couldn't answer the phone to even talk the last few weeks. As I sat on the couch stewing in emotions, I remembered that it was the week of Inspiration and what better inspiration than running for someone who wanted nothing more than to be able to use her legs again. I made a post in the group and the amount of love and support overwhelmed me. I normally don't share stuff from my running groups with my boyfriend but the words were so beautiful and genuine that I had to show him how many complete strangers were offering support and comfort in a time of great loss.

This group made that situation so much more bearable and I will never forget the support and encouragement to keep going that I felt. During the week of Joy my boyfriend's grandfather, on the other side, passed away. They were close, the Joy came from knowing he wasn't in any more pain and that he was reunited with his wife who he lost earlier in the year. I found Joy and still do in saying that his wife had to go first to plan the big anniversary party this year without him getting in the way, everyone who knew them knows that he didn't like a big fuss or party and that she thought that celebrations were very important and should be done well. The funeral was during Life and I couldn't think of a better way to finish things. I did 3 miles before his funeral and I took my dog, Grandpa loved dogs although he never owned one himself. He would always say, befriend a dog and you'll have a friend for life.  I took that as a sign that he would want part of his life remembered enjoying nature in the company of a good dog.

I promise it wasn't all sad.  We had a birthday parade for my Grandma's 80th birthday; lights and sirens and families in their cars - in total the parade lasted for about 3 minutes of constant movement past her house and around 30 cars. It was quite the site for a small town. What happened next was nothing short of amazing. We provided individually packaged cupcakes to anyone who wanted one and even did car side delivery for those who didn't want to risk getting out of their vehicles. I was wearing my Un-Canceled "shirt" (we all know the joke) and one of my grandma's friends asked me what that was. As I explained it and showed them the back so they could see all the themes and all the good we were trying to celebrate a look of hope shone through in their eyes. They had no idea that something like that was even possible, to get a global community to come together and support one another and work towards a common goal.

I set PR's and I ran new distances and distances I had never run before. I found a reason to get up on the couch, and I found a positive meaning in some of the more difficult times in recent memory. I'm sure I would have made it through those times without this group; I am equally sure that I wouldn't have made it though with as much strength and grace without the support, encouragement, and understanding of this group.

My deeper take away isn't get your miles in no matter what, but to find the positive meaning, to celebrate the things that can't be cancelled. The 12 themes will stick with me, I didn't say it best but I'm in full agreement and hopefully my paraphrasing does the original intent justice:

I am GRATEFUL you took a chance on us as a running community and me as a member of that community, and this project!

You have given me HOPE, made me laugh with your HUMOR, and INSPIRED me to be better at what I do, no matter what it is or how insignificant it seems.

You have given me COURAGE to try new things, and be COMMITTED to following my DREAMS of a KINDER world full or JOY and COMMUNITY where we can all PERSEVERE and live LIFE truly Un-Canceled!"

~Ashley Styczynski

We are so humbled that the Un-Canceled Project touched so many of you in significant ways. We cannot wait to see what you make of our newest endeavor! Thank you for making this possible. Stay safe, and keep crushing those goals!

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