One of the things I noticed at my very first race last September was how much encouragement runners were giving each other, not only before the race but also during and after the race as well. I was so taken by it that after I ran the 5K that day, I stuck around to cheer for the 15K runners because I knew how much it had helped me to hear the claps, woots, and ‘looking good runners!’ along the way. (I also remember thinking that 15K was an impossibly long distance).
Since that first experience everything I’ve witnessed since then has only reinforced my belief that runners are giving. A few examples.
I had absolutely no experience in running long distances prior to this year. None. Every single time I’ve needed the benefit of more experienced runners’ knowledge, it was not only given freely and enthusiastically, but I’d get follow-ups asking how things went. It didn’t matter how mundane (sore nipples) or important (nutrition) the topic was, runners lined up to help. Mike B, Madison G, Ariana H, Chris B, Joe M, Rebecca B, and Erin K have been especially helpful.
When I got done running my first half marathon early this month, I went home, got some lunch then started browsing around to find some results from the race. While doing that I came across a story I had missed the day before from the ending of the 10K race. Amy Schoenfeld and Shari Klarfeld had battled for first place for nearly the entire race. Shari pulled ahead toward the end, but then bonked badly just a few feet before the finish line. Rather than running right by her, Amy Schoenfeld helped Kladfeld across the finish line first, then stepped across for second place.
Last month’s Runner’s World featured a story about Scott Jurek, arguably the greatest ultra marathoner in the world. After running 24hour races covering hundreds of miles, he routinely heads back into the course to encourage other ultra runners still out on the course.
In my last post, I was belly aching about a recent lack of umphhh in my running. Within minutes of posting, a local friend, Doug A., commented on the post, then got in touch with me to suggest we shake things up a bit and go for a run together to help cure those blahs. Maybe run a new route. Doldrums: cured.
But it goes beyond just advice and encouragement.
Joe M, a runner I only know virtually, has been raising money for his friend Dom who is fighting cancer. Joe had donations from countries all over the world, mostly from the running community.
Sara S, a runner from Milwaukee, just shared a very personal story about her battle with Chiari Malformation. Here are her words about why she even shared.
“What prompted me to share was that, in my own research efforts about Chiari, I came up flat. I wanted to hear stories, not medical fact-based info. I had found enough of that. I bought books, I read medical journal papers, I packed my brain with knowledge about my condition. I needed to hear someone’s STORY. I found very few. I realized that I can change that. I can share my story for the people who, just like me, need to understand the impact of their diagnosis, surgery, additional treatment, prognosis, etc.
So, I’m not afraid to share anymore. I will tell the story. I will pay forward the love, kindness and support that all of you give me by giving it to people who need a fellow “Chiarian” to talk to.”
Pay it forward indeed.