Are you a special runner even though you don’t finish first? Yes, says me.

full-sized-promo-80Running is more popular today than ever…when early man ran, it wasn’t to share fun and a cup of Gatorade over your most recent run; they ran for survival. But now we run for recreation. We don’t need to hunt for food and we certainly don’t have to run to get a message to our commander about a warring tribe. With that said, just as many runners as there are, there are that many reasons why we run. Many run to compete and to gain glory and accolades that comes with victory. But for every Olympian or future Olympian there are thousands of middle of the pack runners.

Middle of the Pack

The middle-of-the-pack runner may never know the thrill of victory but they will carry in their hearts and heads the accomplishment of the day. They also may wear their badge of courage in the form of a race t-shirt, finishers medal, or with a picture posted on their facebook page. I have always felt that racing is just that, a race to get to the finish line. But as I have learned in recent years it is so much more than that. For example, a wounded veteran finishes a marathon running on prosthetic legs earned from defending his country, or a breast cancer survivor finishes her first 5k after recovering from rounds of excruciating surgery, chemotherapy, and/ or radiation. A boy with _______ finishes a 100 yard dash to earn a finishers medal and a dad runs for the first time with his son. I could go on but I would only tear up more and couldn’t see my computer screen; so I think you get the picture. Others run because they want to accomplish something bigger than themselves, or to gain health, or to just enjoy the day. Whatever the reason, most of us were drawn to running for whatever reason and even though we finish in the middle-of-the-pack we don’t mind. For us I say we are special.

Being Special is my Specialty

Because each person is special, I have learned as a race director, the importance of having enough water on the course or refreshments for every finisher. While working races for a local company, we often stash some extra food and water so that the last finishers will enjoy the same feeling as those who have finished earlier. I didn’t quite get the importance of this until recently. The last finisher came in and we handed her a water bottle, banana, bag of chips and a protein bar. She was astounded that she was able to get “this much” after the race. She also received my only ‘standing ovation’.

So, for what it is worth, if you run, then you are a runner, if you enter a race and finish in the middle of the pack, you are still a runner and you are special just the same. Says me.