Hope everyone had an amazing holiday! I know I did!
Not much running for me this last weekend but lots and lots of eating! LOL!
Thanksgiving got me thinking about two things. Firstly - what (running related) I was thankful for and secondly - how freaking difficult it is to accurately plan and event like a Thanksgiving dinner (or a running race) and to also fully plan for the unexpected.
I know that all of us are obviously thankful for our health and well being that allows us to run and I am too but I'm just as thankful for those who still get out to the starting line despite (or sometimes because of) what we may consider a disadvantage.
A recent article on the Blade Runner program brings this home to me. These individuals have, for various reasons, lost a leg (or sometimes both legs) but have refused to let that stop them one bit. They still run, they still bike, they still swim, they still live their lives! I personally know one of these individuals. He had his leg amputated and is now in the local Blade Runner program. I can see the amazing will power to overcome! I wish I could bottle it up and sell it to the rest of you guys. We would ALL gain from it. Every time I speak to him I am reminded how very lucky I am to have made it through 43 years with no REAL roadblocks and I wonder if I would have the same strength and determination that I see in these guys if this were ever to be me. I hope I would but I'm honestly not sure. What I am sure of is that I'm thankful for their example to our community of runners,cyclists,and triathletes. We are very blessed to have them be a part of our sport!
I was also watching my mom deal with unexpected guest changes and food likes and dislikes of each guest while I was at her home over the holiday and it reminded me of how extremely difficult it is to put on a race. Much less a good, fun, successful one. I know because we at Fleet Feet do it a few times each year.
It's not just mapping out a few miles in a car, making fliers, and praying people will show up. The best races make it seem like it IS that easy. I love those races and can appreciate how much time was spent on that day. Usually about a full year of work for just a few hours on one day and many are charity events so the workers have donated their time and the race itself makes no money. Only the charity. It's truly commendable.
Sure, maybe someone miscalculated the distance one year, or maybe the shirt didn't fit exactly like it should, or maybe it rained really hard the whole time then cleared up after the race was over. Is that the organizers fault though? The truest most honest answer is MAYBE, MAYBE NOT. In the end though, what does it REALLY matter? Did you run for the shirt or, like the Blade Runners, because you are able and its been a good event in the past? If you weren't checking a GPS, would you REALLY have noticed that extra (or lacking) .5 of a mile? Should the organizers have known it was going to rain 6 months earlier when the race date was finalized? Come on. Lets run these things for the right reasons. That reason is BECAUSE WE ARE BLESSED ENOUGH TO BE ABLE TO RUN IT. In case you were wondering :)
I can remember when I had to really search for a race if I wanted to run. No more. That is directly a result of people willing to donate time to built an event and now there are many. I'm very thankful of that. If I threw a party that didn't have at least one glitch, it would be a miracle! So next time your out at a race (any race) be sure to take a moment to reflect on how lucky you are to actually be able to compete in such an even and while you are there, be sure to thank the organizers and anyone helping out for puting it on in the first place. If it wasn't for them, we would all be running by ourselves. Wouldn't we?