The atmosphere on race day is something everyone should experience. There is a such a sense of excitement, and nervousness felt from every runner. Not to mention the sense of enjoyment from being part of such an awesome running community. I feel like us runners are an elite group of people who understand one another. I love when I am running a race and I get the encouragement from other runners I don’t even know when circling back on a course. The simple head nod, high five or thumbs up really makes a difference.
But two weeks ago I really got an idea of what racing and running was all about. At the starting line of a race I was looking around at my fellow racers. Sometimes I like to people watch but mostly I was sizing up my competition. I spotted an elderly man getting ready to run with his dog. His dog looked about as old as him. We made eye contact, I smiled, and turned back to my friend. A few seconds later he taped me on my shoulder and inquired about my shirt. I was wearing a race shirt from the year prior and he was curious if I had ran the race or if I was apart of the running group that organized it. He said that he usually puts on that event but decided to give it to someone else this year because he wanted to run it instead. He just turned 70 and has a goal to run 70 races this year. That day was already race number 31 for him. He was running around 2-3 races a week. His dog, Griffin, runs every race animals are allowed and can run up to 10 miles with his owner. We continued to talk about the different races we each were going to do this year and our goals for times. I am so excited to see him at every race and cheer him on when he crosses the finish line. One day I hope to challenge myself to something of that magnitude at the age of 70. Running and racing is a great sense of competitiveness and accomplishment, but when you really get down to the bottom of it, it is a feeling of being alive. My new friend, Dr. Mike, has shown me that. So inspiring!