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i heart running

April 16, 2013

if you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon

-kathrine switzer, the first woman to run the boston marathon as a numbered entry

it’s not a pretty thing or a particularly fun thing or even a productive use of time.  it wears you down and gives you caveperson feet and makes you do crazy things like count syllables of words in your head.  running, especially of the long distance variety, is a weird sport.  you have to like pain.  you have to like being alone.  you have to like living inside your own thoughts.  or bobbing along to britney.  but for all the ugly and the hurt and the weirdness, running is a sport that forms community like none other i’ve ever seen.

last week at our home track meet, i was tasked with taking down runners’ times as they crossed the finish line.  this is about the worst job in the world.  the kids get all sweaty and gross and collapse at your feet.  you have to haul them upright and deal with sweat dribbling down their face and scraped knees and decipher their name for the record books between their dry heaves.  these kids, like most runners, throw their whole being into their race.  they literally give it all.  and then some snot, just for good measure.  but, at that finish line, you also witness some pretty awesome things.

i watched one of my runners walk toward an opponent who’d just edged him out at the finish line and offer a high five and a “great race, man.”  he’d lost.  he was sad.  he was out of breath.  but he respected the power and strength of his opponent.  and so he reached out and shared a little of his love and congratulations with a sweaty palm.  it’s not a sport for the faint of heart- i’ve got blisters the size of small pacific islands dotting the bottom of my feet.  but it is a sport for the big of heart.

because running takes all the heart you’ve got.  and maybe some snot, too.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Notorious permalink
    April 16, 2013 2:03 pm

    As a former cross country runner, I agree with your thoughts on running, though my fondest memories involved running far enough away from the coach to stop and rest. I also recall a meet at Vilas Park where I and other misread a flag and deviated way off the course. I think it was on purpose for fun. –Rock on …or should this be Run on!!!! Notorious

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