The Camaraderie of Running

24 Jan

Distance running  is a really nice sport. No really, there is something very friendly and inclusive about it. For those of us in the non-elite category, it is a brotherhood of sorts where everyone is encouraged and the only person you’re truly competing against is yourself.

Runners look out for each other and help each other. It’s not the sport for the star quarterback, but rather, it really is about the love of the sport and the joy it brings. When I’ve joined running groups on group runs, and I’m the slowest, everyone else takes turns staying behind so that I’m not alone. You never see that in so many other, ultra competitive sports.

This past Saturday, I ran 4.1 miles on the indoor track at the YMCA. Other people came and gone and most were walkers, though a few runners. However, there was one man who had on a running club shirt and he was amazing. His legs were strong, powerful and muscular. He would run past me, I would blink and he’d be gone. He was insanely fast. I even had a hard time passing him when he would take a walk break and I was running. Seriously—that fast!

We were both on the track the longest (about an hour), and although we never spoke, I thought of him as my buddy. As the others came and went, he stayed, and I thought okay I can get through this. He’s running about 100 times faster than me and is still here, so I can get through at my slow pace. My goal was 4 miles.

Towards the end, I looked down at my lap counter to realize I had about 6 laps left. The man who had been running had finally stopped and was doing some post run stretching on the side area where you can keep your water and keys. I was dying. I hadn’t run this far in a very long time and even then, I’ve only done it once. I honestly didn’t think I could make it. Then we locked eyes, and he could see it in me—the fatigue, the soreness, the longing to give up.

Then he gave me a nod. It was like he had said, don’t give up, you’re almost there and yes, you can do this. I suddenly had the strength of 10 grinches plus 2! That little nod gave me the encouragement I needed, and I managed to do 4.1 miles.

I even mustered the energy to do my final victory sprint. I always try to practice at the of my run the victory sprint to the finish line like I imagine I’ll do when I’m doing the marathon. When I have no energy left and want to die, but I see the finish line and I manage to sprint to a strong finish. I practice it every time, though on Saturday I didn’t think it was going to happen. But that nod was all I needed.

Running is a great sport. Everyone wants everyone to succeed and run another day. There is so much camaraderie and encouragement among runners. I am so happy to be a part of this wonderful group. And here’s the thing, you don’t have to be the fastest runner, you just have to do it. The first day you run, you are a runner. That’s all there is to it. So pick up your shoes and run!

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3 Responses to “The Camaraderie of Running”

  1. Running For Joy January 25, 2011 at 1:17 AM #

    Thanks lady 🙂 I’m having a kinda rough running week and this was pretty encouraging. Good job on your 4 miles!

  2. Noel D. January 25, 2011 at 5:58 AM #

    Thanks! Keep it up yourself. Everyone has an off week. Just keep going, you can do it! 🙂

  3. laurapayette January 26, 2011 at 9:23 PM #

    I love the camaraderie of runners. Hopefully, you’ll even find a few to run with!

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