One of my favorite things I like about running are the athletic supporters…err…the supportive peeps in my life. Whether it be friends truly interested in your running class; a congratulatory high five from a fellow runner in a running group; or from spectators that trek out early one (weekend) morning to cheer you on during a race. Having someone in your corner is a fantastic feeling and a great motivator.
I noticed something fun on my Labor Day race that has stayed with me post race and several days later. The course was an out and back and on my way back I saw a young girl (8 or 9 maybe?) running out doing a run/walk combo solo. Some runners in front of me asked if she was doing ok and she answered in the affirmative. I clapped for her as she passed by and told her she was doing great and a few other runners took my cue and did the same thing. I wondered where her parents were because she seemed so young to do a race by herself. I think I would have been overwhelmed doing 3.1 miles by myself at that age. Heck, sometimes I feel overwhelmed NOW when I run a race solo, but she was indeed holding her own. More about her in a little bit.
After I crossed the finish line, I hung out for a bit for the results and to see the other racers cross the line. It’s really inspiring to see runners as they approach the finish line. You can usually spot that moment of relief, excitement or accomplishment flash across each runner’s face when they hit the finish line. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a spectator near the finish line holding on to some balloons and a teddy bear and I realized that she was probably waiting for the little girl that I passed on the course. Not too long after I saw the little girl approaching the finish line giving it her all! A crowd of people cheered her in and her mom (I assume) with the balloons and teddy bear in tow gave the little girl a huge hug the second she crossed the finish line! Seeing that gave me chills (on a hot and humid morning)! It was truly an amazing moment and I was so happy to have witnessed that special moment.
At my first running class, we did what the coaches called a “magic mile”. You run for a mile so the coaches can ascertain what pace group you belong in. I think I’ll borrow the “magic mile” term and use it for when I see something inspiring during a race. I’ll make it part of my race recaps. Hopefully it will be a good reminder to look outside of myself and make me more aware of the cool and inspiring moments that inevitably occur during each race. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own race; our own goals and our own performance that it’s so easy to miss these little moments unfolding during a race.
I hope the cheering and praise will carry the little girl on each of her runs and other future endeavors. I hope that I’ll remember this moment and always be conscious of not just my race but to also be mindful of the “little big” during a race.
Let’s hear about your “Magic Mile Moment” during a race! Was it an awesome spectator giving you that extra push? A funny marathon sign; or a maybe an awesome volunteer giving you an encouraging smile?