Why I love running
This Saturday I completed my fourth half marathon at the Rock ‘n Roll Savannah. It was especially important for me, as last year this race was my first half marathon. This was also only my second race where I truly had a goal and felt very trained and ready to run! I earned a personal record for this yogi-runner, finishing under 2 hours at 1:59:14. It wasn’t as fast as I had wanted, but it also was a good pace finally sneaking me in under the 2 hour mark that didn’t leave me hurting at any point in the journey.
But my time is really irrelevant.
I don’t love running for the finisher medal. I don’t love running to set a personal record, to do well in my age group, or to burn calories.
I run out of love for run. And the running community.
My favorite part of the race wasn’t the finish line, the sense of accomplishment, the beer at the end, or even my PR. (Those were all great, don’t get me wrong…)
My favorite part was the high-fiving along the way. Stopping to dance with a paraplegic child in a wheel chair, whose father had tears in his eyes when he shook my hand and said “thank you.” The overwhelming amount of motivational signs and cheers. Singing with the kids on the sidelines. Cracking jokes with fellow runners. My friend calling me from mile 19 of her marathon in need of extra encouragement. The fact that I had a smile on my face for all 13.1 miles. It’s amazing to have so many people working together for a common goal. To have so many people supporting one another. To have so many people caring for strangers.
My favorite part is the community.
Races bring people together.
I had a Garfield Christmas book as a child. In it, Garfield learned about true compassion for the holidays. He said “It’s not the giving, it’s not the getting, it’s the loving.”
And that’s what races are for me. Running is an act of self-love for me. I just get out there and do the best that I can do given the circumstances. I smile, I’m happy, and I enjoy every second of it. And that love expands to all my fellow runners, to my friends, to strangers cheering in the stands, to the volunteers at water stations, to my parents trying to figure out what the heck it is I’m doing.
Running races brings together an amazing group of people for a few hours. Everyone supports one another. Everyone helps one another get to the finish line.
I’m never going to win the race. I won’t be the fastest. I don’t care. I don’t need to be. We are all winners just for showing up. Whether on the course, on the sidelines, or sending cheers remotely. It’s a community event. And that is why, I always have “one more mile, one more smile.” And if I ever stop running and smiling? Then I don’t want to run!
Thanks for a great race Rock ‘n Roll Savannah!