I run by myself. I run for myself. I jokingly tell my friends, when asked why I run or what I am running from, I am running from all the heredity that my parents are trying to give me. This became even more true after my father’s death this past March.
My friend Steve runs also. He would always tell me about the races, about the people. He would say he always meets someone new, how friendly everyone is. He has, on occasion, encouraged me to run with him during training or to try a race. I always say I run alone.
Then, this past weekend came. I went with Steve to the Wineglass Marathon, which races along highways from the Philips plant in Bath, NY to Corning, NY. I was there at the start line. The people, whether runners or other support people, were wonderful. We all talked and laughed together. I was amazed at the camaraderie that was apparent. But, as I thought back about things that Steve had told me, this was what he had talked about.
I went to the half way point in the marathon, 13.1 miles. I got there well ahead of runners and took pictures to be sure to have them. I wound my way back to just about the water and GU stations. I stood on the side of the road with two gentlemen from Rochester. Their running club – no, I am not sure I am ready for that yet – had about a dozen people running. One of them had had to withdraw from the race due to an injury. They stood there, cheering on everyone who came through the point. When one of their runner friends would come through, the gentleman who could not run the full marathon would run to the corner with the friend and then loop back and do it again. They both encouraged me to run a marathon or a half marathon or a 5K. They didn’t even know me but were welcoming and encouraging to me. The talked about meeting these same friends at 23 miles and running them in.
The light really went on as I stood on the bridge watching runners come across to the finish line. These people had trained for months to reach a goal. Some had the goal of finishing. Some had the goal of finishing in a certain time. Some had the goal of qualifying for Boston. Everyone on the bridge was clapping and cheering for people, whether they knew them or not.
The world of running is truly a wonderful place to be, wonderful for the individual and wonderful for the whole group of runners. Support is abundant. Encouragement is amazing. I am, now, seriously thinking of training for a distance run.