I had started writing this blog post a few weeks ago after so many folks have asked me in recent months why I have stuck with running? What is it about this sport that’s got me hooked? I had mentioned on Twitter that maybe I should write a post entitled “Why I Haven’t Given Up on Running” and that’s likely a result of the fact that running hasn’t given up on me, more specifically this community has never given up one me. I could be all cliche and list of a number of reasons of why I love to run, but the at the heart all of my reasons would be all of the ones that have made me stick with this and continue to chase my goals on the pavement.
This community is about accountability, support and family. It’s not selfish, it does not measure one person’s achievements against another, your view of success and other’s are different and accepted and most importantly we are ALL runners – no matter how many races you’ve finished, medals you’ve earned or miles your accumulated. I said to someone today on the Spring Run-off course, “It’s not about when you crossed the finish line necessarily, it’s that you didn’t give up on you and crossed that line.”
Yesterday marked the #goalrace for the 2016 Tribe Fitness Winter #LearntoRun program, a program that I have the privilege to mentor for the third time since I finished the program in the summer of 2014. For some it was just another race on their 2016 race calendar, for some it was a training run, but for these folks who have committed to themselves and the training over the last 9 weeks it was their day to shine, it was #goalraceday. It never ceases to amaze me the commitment that the Winter Learn to Run Program folks give to their training, they train during the coldest months of the year and they embrace the Canadian weather for what it is to do the work. Witnessing so many of them giving it their all as they worked up the infamous hill yesterday was really something special to be apart of as I had the pleasure of cheering them on. I’ll be honest I got a bit sentimental behind my sunglasses, there might have been some misty eyes as I reflected on the family we have fostered and felt a wave of emotion as I was reminded just how lucky I am to be a prat of all of this.
Maybe what this community doesn’t know is that they have been an important part of my life over the last two years. When I moved to Toronto I was anxious to be living on my own for the first time, I was looking for a way to explore the city, for people to explore the city with and they helped ease my tension about being the “new kid”. When I’ve doubted my ability as a running it’s been these individuals who have told me without a doubt that I’m ready, that I’ve got this and that I should believe in myself. When I was working through some things this summer whether they knew it or not the Tuesday night #LearntoRun and Wednesday night #CommunityRuns were my vice in taking my mind off of things and finding some calm for a few moments during these times. It’s the times someone without hesitation selflessly offers to pace you at a race so that you can focus on your feet and the number of new people you have encountered while you travel abroad thanks to the crew name that you so proudly wear on your chest and pant leg.
I truly believe one of the greatest achievements to come out of my #runlife has been the ability to share this community with others, to let them know that no matter how fast they are that they are welcome, to make sure that their first race is one that they will never forget and to foster/grow this community to be an environment where everyone can succeed. To be trusted with fostering our newest members along side some of the other Tribe members as been the greatest opportunity to give back and say thank you for everything I have gained from this community. The best way that I can pay it forward it by helping bring new people out and then offering the same chance I was in the #LearntoRun program.
These are just a few of the reasons that I get up when I’m not racing without hesitation to cheer, to stand on the side of the road shouting with all my heart + at the top of my lungs and event busting a little move. It’s a simple way to pay it forward, to say thank you and to let runners both new and seasoned that you support them on their journey to cross the finish line.