Words cannot describe how much I loved this article that I stumbled upon today.
It’s called “Marathon in the Slow Lane.” Link here.
The author muses: “There was a time when I was embarrassed by my painfully slow pace, but not anymore. Since I began training for a marathon this spring, I’ve discovered that the view is a lot more interesting in the back of the pack.”
Where’s she going with this, I wondered?
“At the 13.1-mile Philadelphia Distance Run this fall, I spent a good part of the race alongside an athlete who jumped rope the entire way. Later, I trotted with two women wearing pink feather boas. There was also a “joggler,” someone who juggles and runs at the same time. Nearby was 81-year-old Robert Welsh of Wallingford, Pa. (He won his age group.)”
I laughed out loud. I started thinking about the time I ran with this fisherman and his hooked fish during my first 10K.
“During my marathon, I ran next to a man wearing an Eiffel Tower costume. Several women raising money for breast cancer drew cheers from the crowds for running in their decorated bras. I also spent time alongside several members of the Achilles Track Club, for athletes with disabilities.
My marathon included four stops to hug my daughter along the route, a quick jaunt into a deli in Queens to buy a banana, and countless high fives with kids along the course. I also spent about three miles talking and walking with Maureen Donohue, 68, of Long Island, who began running at age 56 and was taking part in her 10th marathon. To train, she run-walks a five-mile course near her home, takes a coffee break and heads back out again for five more miles. I found her inspiring, and so did the crowd. As we passed by, onlookers shouted, “Go, Mo, go!””
I was laughing myself silly by then. Then I actually started to tear up. So many of my own racing memories flooded my mind — most of which have no accompanying photos.
Oh my gosh. There are the firefighters who walk the GO! Marathon in full gear and equipment (including American flag) every April. There’s Pat, the 70-year-old marathoner who somehow puts his frail body through the grueling full distance at the GO! and the Rock and Roll marathons every year…sporting his signature yellow micro-shorts and knee socks. There’s the guy who dresses as Gene Simmons at every Halloween 10K and never breaks enough of a sweat to make his makeup run. There’s this little guy named Liam who this year during the Frostbite Series pitched himself onto the grass on the side of the road with .2 miles left to the finish line, refusing to run another stride.
I think what I appreciated so much about this article is that it honored my entire experience as a runner. I, too, am pretty slow. I’m typically content to hover in the middle of the pack. But, oh, the view. How I have LOVED the view from my slower pace. The celebrations. The high-fives. The goofy signs. The stories. The friends. My heart is so full.
“It didn’t matter how fast I finished, just that I was out there, enjoying the view from the back of the pack.”
And, most of all, I love that this article gave me permission to continue on my journey at my own pace. The journey just needs to be enjoyed.