Running can be a lonely sport. Yes, you can’t throw a rock in certain parts of the country without hitting a running club or group, but ultimately, at its very core, running is an individual undertaking – YOU must put one foot in front of the other to move forward; YOU are the engine that makes you go; YOU and only you can take you from point A to point B.
But it’s rarely just about getting from point A to point B, is it?
I was reminded during the TARC 100 that running is truly the most team-oriented individual sport I have ever participated in. It is something I have always known, and even written about here, but I felt like I was completely immersed in the team aspect of individual running during my nearly 28 hour journey last weekend.
I would not have had the will or the means to cover 100 miles in so short a time had it not been for Erica & Maddy (my pacers from 54.5 to the finish), Doug (who crewed for me from 25 to 75), the volunteers at each of the Aid Stations and Road Crossings or my wife Jess constantly checking in via text offering words of encouragement.
On the Sunday morning after the race, still unable to collect my thoughts fully, I wrote this on the TARC Facebook Page:
Thank you to the TARC Staff and volunteers! Your enthusiasm throughout the night and day and night again was energizing and helped keep the darkness of doubt at bay. I know that my buckle-status was in part achieved because of you – THANK YOU!
Also, the tenderness with which you treated those of us who finished was amazing.
I would then later post this about my two pacers:
So the enormity of what these two women did for me on Saturday is just finally sinking in. Erica…paced me from mile 54.5 to mile 75 and Maddy…paced me from 75 to 100. Erica had never met me (online or in real life) yet she jumped right in and kept me going for 6 hours. Maddy, whom I have long admired as a runner, heard I needed help and drove over at the drop of a hat to shepherd me through the final stages…I cannot possibly do either of you justice with words (as my eyes start to well up). Thank you!
Without these people, I would have simply been just some fool running in the woods. I also would have had the common sense to stop after about 6 or 7 miles, probably even sooner.
To paraphrase Elizabeth Warren’s and Barry O’s often misquoted line, “You didn’t build that”, I didn’t do that…WE did that! And it is not just the volunteers or my fellow TARC racers or Doug or JB or Erica or Maddy or Jess. It wasn’t just the Charity Miles App that allowed me to raise funds for my charity of choice with every step I took; it wasn’t just Mophie, the company that donated two battery packs to keep my phone, and therefore the Charity Miles App, running for 28 straight hours; it wasn’t just Julie C and her beautiful daughter showing up at Mile 50 to remind me who I was running for…
It was YOU! YOU helped carry me to the end when my legs were failing. YOU helped drive me to the finish when MY will was breaking. YOU delivered strength when the darkness of doubt came over me. YOU made sure I got the silly not so little belt buckle at the end of the day.
This villager would like to thank his village for being part of and helping me finish my first 100 mile foot race.