Do you race? Whatever your sport or event - why do you do it? What is it that drives you? For a person training for a marathon, it takes many weeks and hours of dedicated running, eating, and lots of rest. For the past 16 weeks I have been training for what will be my fourth marathon: The Dicks Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon. My training is now winding down to get ready for the big day.
Today, however I realized something about people who do what I do; people who love to run, people who log in endless running hours than test their strength and speed with a race.
As part of my training, I signed up for the Rutgers Unite Half Marathon. As it turned out, I ran that race alone. I packed up my gear and drove down to Rutgers for an 8 a.m. start. I was standing there all by myself, but the truth is I wasn't alone at all.
There were, I believe, 2,500 people there. Everywhere I turned there were people of all different ages, races, sizes and speeds! I felt this amazing camaraderie around me. The horn sounded and a rush of runners started.
As I crossed the finish line and received my medal, a woman walked over with a big smile and said, "Hey, how did you do?" as she gave me a high five.
"Great," I said "and you?"
"Me too," she responded, showing me her medal. We walked and talked for a bit, and for the next hour I met endless people who I felt like I knew forever.
Which brings me to why I decided to write today. I had a bit of a revelation. We all had just run 13.1 miles, but for everyone of those people and myself it was for a different reason. Whatever the reason it didn't matter once we were finished.
I have been running for a few years now every race is different. Today was no exception. Today I realized why I love racing like I do. I realized that no matter when I cross the finish line, there will always be hundreds, and in some some cases thousands, of other runners on the other side waiting there to cheer me and others across, and to share their stories and smiles, because in the end we all showed up there that day to do the same thing: to cross that finish line!
You are stronger than you think.