I think I get it now
Sunday morning I headed over to my mom’s house for Mother’s day. As I arrived there, some of the street was cordoned off for a half-marathon and there were cops and flaggers directing traffic. I parked and headed over to my mom’s condo when I saw the runners coming around the corner. I didn’t know it at the time but they were finishing up the last leg of the marathon, about five miles from the finish. There were some volunteers standing there cheering them on with noise makers, claps, and vocals congratulating them on their successes.
I stopped and stood there, watching the runners, the cheerers, just processing what they were doing. Part of me was disappointed I didn’t know that event was happening – not that I could have run very far right now anyway, but I could have walked, had I known. I just stood and stared.
While watching them, I had some sort of epiphany. I think I get it now – the motivation to run in a marathon, a half marathon, or even a 3, 5 or 10k – walk, run, or bike. Whatever the challenge, I get it.
It’s about more than just pushing your body further than you thought you could. It’s also about the camaraderie and community that goes along with a group event like this. Yes, each person is competing individually, challenging themselves individually, but together, there is something undefinable. Something about the energy that seeps out among everyone, the enthusiasm, the pride, the accomplishment. Some people running have always been fit, have always been able to run. But not so for everyone. Some people have overcome unknown obstacles and physical challenges to bring them to where they are. None of that matters, but all of that matters. Together they are all there for a common goal, all running in the same direction, unified.
It’s that basic sense of humanness that struck me this morning. As I stood there, I choked up. But at the same time, I was energized. From across the parking lot, I could feel their adrenaline and energy. And it’s infectious.
I’m not saying I’m going to run a marathon. But I’m saying I finally get it why people do, and I congratulate them and applaud them for doing so. If I can’t run a marathon – and today I can’t, but that doesn’t mean someday I won’t be able to – at least I can stand on the sideline, soak up the energy and positiveness, and cheer them on.