Well from the responses I got the other day about runners being crazy, I think the general consensus is that we are all most definitely crazy. It seems that our friends and family all tolerate our craziness and a lot of us have significant others who see us out the door with a warning not to do something stupid. Although as I mentioned to one of my favorite bloggers over at 278 to Boston, I don’t think they really understand what “not doing something stupid” really means to us. In the midst of a long run very few things seem stupid, except for possibly stopping to pet a bear. I myself have done many an incredibly stupid thing on a long run that seemed to make absolute sense at the time. For example there was that 10 miler that I decided to turn into 23 with no fuel or plan in mind or when I had that great idea for my husband’s first race to be a trail run up Bear Mountain. Oops.
A few days ago my husband went on a mission to find a new pair of running sunglasses. While he was in the store he realized that the case to the glasses was open so he started trying on various pairs. A short while later he felt a pair of eyes staring over his shoulder and found an employee watching him like a hawk. He suddenly realized he probably shouldn’t have helped himself to the glass case without asking and apologized to the employee. Despite the fact that he was in NYC which is sometimes notorious for having “slightly” rude sales people the guy told him it was no big deal but that he was going to hang behind him, “Just in case.”
When he told me this story later that night I thought about it for awhile and had an interesting thought. I know that many stores have a certain percentage of stock that they assume will show up missing. Sadly, there are a lot of dishonest people out there and products get stolen or damaged. I didn’t do any research on this but I wouldn’t be surprised if the amount of things stolen is much less in running stores. Call me crazy but the way I see it, as a whole we are a pretty stand up group.
I would be willing to bet that if I left a shirt or hat at the start of a race and came back later, there would be a very good chance that it would still be there waiting for me.
Generally speaking, there is a real sense of community among runners. There is a respect that is shared amongst each other. We respect how hard the sport is regardless of how far or fast someone goes. We respect different styles of runners and shapes and sizes. Usually we are just proud to have these people as part of our community. And most runners wouldn’t want to lose that respect by taking something they knew wasn’t theirs. It is after all a small world.
There are thousands of people who put themselves through the rigors of half and full marathon training to help a charity and on top of that they raise thousands of dollars for those causes. They enlist family and friends to volunteer at aid stations and give up their weekends and social lives to train
Look at the Meg’s Miles community on Facebook. When Meg was tragically struck by a car and passed away last year, thousands of people who did not know her rallied to do a virtual run in her honor. Today there are still thousands of members on the Meg’s Miles Facebook page who run miles for her and find inspiration in her memory. Hundreds of them donated shoes last year to create a memorial that was made for her near the start of the Boston Marathon. Kel Kelly created the memorial, and although she never met Meg, she felt compelled to create something for all of the athletes to see as they began the 26.2 mile trek.
A few years ago I was running along the East River in New York when I came upon a hectic scene. A man had jumped into the river and was drowning. Dozens of runners immediately stopped and went into action to try and help this man. It was such a scary scene but I couldn’t believe how many people were quick to jump into action. In fact, the first person there was a mom pushing her toddler in a stroller. Talk about brave!
One of the greatest places that you can see this runner awesomeness is at races. It was the New York City Marathon that first sparked my return to running. To run in a race and see people cheering you on regardless of your pace is such an uplifting feeling. On the flipside, being able to stand on the sidelines and cheer runners on can bring tears to your eyes.
This past weekend I had the chance to run the Boston 13.1 and experience all of the fans and cheering from the side. During the hardest parts of a race, when you start to question if you will make it or if you truly are insane, those cheers can be the determining factor of your successful finish. And then I was able to swing back towards to the course and watch as other runners continued filing through the finish. People cheering for loved ones and strangers at the same time, the college kids who took life sized cutouts of their friend’s head and put it on popsicle sticks, and the older woman who shouted to every single runner, “You are almost thay-ah.” Top that off by watching as those same runners who were struggling towards the finish were also the first to coax others along as they questioned whether they too would make it. Ever watch an athlete help carry a peer across the finish line? That is what makes running so special.
You are all awesome!
My apologies to my buddy Zach, I short changed him on his race time. I said he ran a 2:25 but he actually ran a 2:23! That is seven minutes faster than his last. Go Zach!