I absolutely love the running community. That welcoming camaraderie among runners was one of my favorite pieces of Bourbon Chase, yet it is probably the most difficult to explain. Runners are a crazy bunch, but I'm constantly inspired by other runners and if I could bottle up that feeling I'd never have to fuel again.
This past weekend I went down to DC to cheer on some of my running group buddies as they trekked through DC to complete the Marine Corps Marathon. I got to my spot on the mall just in time to see the lead women go by and then I started walking the mall to cheer for runners. I only snapped a few quick photos because my hands were too busy clapping, holding up a sign, and doling out high fives to passing runners.
I was inspired by the kids who strategically waited near the top of a hill to cheer on competitors with a safe, "you've got this hill!" In the world of video games, cell phone games, and a million other distractions it was amazing to see a group of kids stand outside for hours and never complain once that they were bored.
Running a marathon is hard enough, but I can't even comprehend the strength it would take to push an adult the entire 26.2 miles. And this guy was flying!
Inspired by the Marines who showed up well before I did and stayed far long after I left to watch the 5:30 pace group make the last turn around the mall to head over the dreaded bridge. These Marines were cheering the entire time, but ready to provide assistance at a seconds notice.
Inspired by our brothers in sisters in arms who ran in their gear and many honored their fallen brethren.
Inspired by those that take a different path in life and say, "running a marathon barefoot isn't so crazy."
Inspiring is watching Dorothy Beal run. Her 3:13 on Sunday was impressive on its own, but add to the equation that she's worked her way down to that blazing time from more earthly times and the work she's put in makes her marathon time super human. And she has three kids! Dorothy - you are an inspiration.
And then there are the inspiring moments where words escape me.
Dear Marine Corps Marathon runners. Thank you for the inspiration. My runs this week will be fueled by witnessing your determination. The strength and perseverance you displayed will guide me through my darkest miles in my next marathon. And for that I can never thank you enough.