I had the exceptional privilege of running at the Woody’s Marathon on May 22nd, and the stories on the day were so inspiring and amazing, I can hardly wipe the smile off my face!
Yes, it was pouring rain, super windy, and a whole +3C degrees – so there’s that – but I didn’t hear much for complaining for what I think are a few reasons.
Number one, we really needed the rain, and we are all praying it heads north to Fort Mac and puts out all the fires for good, washes away the soot and dust and lets people come home to safety. Number two, runners are not really the whining type by nature – the longer you run, the more that is distilled out of you somehow. I can’t prove that, but I have seen it.
Like most things in fitness, it tends to bring out the best in people.
Volunteers – oh my gosh the volunteers! Freezing, soaked to the bone, up at dark o’clock, standing for hours and hours, smiling and cheering. Amazing!
I spoke with a mom that has two amazing kids, has been training for the half marathon and was recently diagnosed with thyroid cancer. She ran anyway. Live life now, beat cancer later. What an amazing inspiration and a choice to live and be amazing!
Families running, mothers and sons, father’s and daughters, etc. Short people, tall people, older people, younger people, thinner, heavier, it doesn’t matter – and it’s not about running – it’s about challenge and growth and about thinking you can’t, but then you do anyway.
It’s about humans being. Nobody asked or cared about politics, religion, what diet you followed, what workout plan was perfect, what music was best. Nobody cared what you wore – lots of runners had garbage bags on to try and stay dry. The best of people get to the line, thank the volunteers, help each other win on whatever terms you hold dear.
For me the journey was deeply personal and emotional. It as my first race back almost five months to the day since my near death crash on Nov. 28th. I spent most of the run smiling, and a few moments crying as the gravity of the gift and pure joy of running hit me like a wave.
The gratitude for the people that saved my life, for my family that supported me through months of really tough times, for my staff that shoulder extra load while I got back on my feet.
In December one of the ladies I coach asked if I was going to go ahead with the annual run clinic in 2016. I said I wanted to, but wasn’t sure I could. I could only stay awake for 1.5 hours at a time, I couldn’t drive, I had trouble thinking clearly and remembering things. I was dizzy all the time. She offered to put out the run turnaround signs at 7 a.m., then swing by the house and pick me up and bring me to the gym to coach. A few other runners offered the same, and pretty soon we had a team.
The first lecture, I didn’t think I was going to make it, I was starting to slur my words, forget stuff, and I was so tired. But the group smiled and encouraged, and I made it through. Then I went for my first run. Four weeks and one day since a seven hour surgery to rebuild my arm and shoulder and remove metal staples from my skull. I ran gently for one minute, then walked for a minute and did that for 12 minutes with some amazing ladies that were learning to run. I was re-learning to run with their help. My arm was velcroed to my chest and it hurt like heck, but I did it. Pretty soon 12 minutes became 20, then 45, then 10kms became 15kms and beyond. Today was a victory for all of my friends, my family and those who helped me through this journey.
I share this, because I hope it will inspire you to try something new. Something that might be ‘too hard’, all you need are a couple of friends and a goal. You’ve got this.
Scott McDermott is a personal trainer and the owner of Best Body Fitness in Sylvan Lake.