We are like the Ebony and Ivory of the running community, we run together in perfect harmony…
Mark was one of the first people I met when I moved to Roanoke, Virginia. Being new to the area I reached out to a local running club as a way to meet people. I know, I know, there are other ways to meet people like “Meetup” groups or civic organizations. That’s a different conversation. lol! Anyway, we met during a group run. There were a lot of seasoned runners there. I mentioned to them that I wanted to qualify for the Boston Marathon. They asked “have you run a marathon before?” I answered yes and told them about my previous attempts to qualify. One group member pointed to Mark and said “Stick with this guy and you’ll be okay.”
Weeks passed. Work was keeping me busy so I ended up doing solo long runs when I could find enough time. One cold winter morning I was running up to the Mill Mountain Star. There had not been another person is sight until I noticed a man running from the opposite direction. It was Mark! We stopped, chatted and decided to run together for the rest of the day’s run. We talked about training and upcoming races. From then on, Mark and I began to meet each weekend for distance runs.
RUNNING = THERAPY SESSIONS
“There’s a closeness about people who run together. We become better friends, better athletes, better people by the company we keep.”
Good running partners can make a 20 mile run fly by. Mark is the type to make the time whiz by while suggesting we run 21 miles instead of 20 because he enjoys the challenge. Some marathon training runs can last close to 3 hours or more. During our long runs, Mark and I have conversations about life, politics, current events and work. When I’ve had a bad week he knows about it. If I’m planning to ask for a raise at work, he’s willing to offer his experience as a manager to help hone my pitch. When his son got engaged, I heard all about the wedding plans. While we are nearly 30 years apart in age we have a love for running in common and that has brought us together. Over the past three years he’s become a good friend and mentor. Having run the Boston Marathon nearly a dozen times or more, Mark enjoys giving tips about the race such as how to train, where to stay in Boston and what the marathon route is like. I know he is truly looking forward to the day I cross the finish-line. He’s likely to say with a smile “Great job kid. Try to run it faster next time.” Good running partners help to improve your running skills, great ones help you become a better person.
In running, and in life, surround yourself with people who will go the extra mile with you, challenge you to be a better person and cheer you on along the way.
Here are some articles about running partners: