Tuesday, June 14, 2011

View from the Back

In over 25 years of running, I had not run with someone else more than a dozen or so times. Not that I preferred running solo; this was more due to a lack of opportunity than anything else. Living in rural districts, there were no running partners available. A few times I ran with a family member, but in all my many races, I ran by myself. The starts always made me envious for it seemed that nearly everyone else was with someone, sharing the nervous tension so delightful at the start, while I was left with nothing more engaging than watching the seconds tick down. I am by myself, alone in a crowd. Standing in the midst of such excitement, I felt apart from the community of runners.

Last year I resolved to join our local running club. I thought it was a way to motivate my running which had become more and more a chore. I knew that there would be few opportunities to join in sponsored activities as my wife and I have a small ranch and feeding chores complicated any trips to town. Nevertheless, I hoped to participate occasionally and meet other runners. Purely by chance, I found myself writing for the Back of the Pack. Coincidentally, I had injured myself and my rehabilitation included easy running with lots of walk breaks. A BOP run was scheduled relatively close to where I live and I promised myself that I would attend.

And so I finally came to meet other runners from this group. I ran with a lovely woman with whom I had a delightful conversation. Afterwards, we gathered to share our stories and life experiences over a pot luck of snacks and beverages, some fortified, I might add.
A friendlier group, one would not chance upon. Our ages ranged from young to old, but to a one, our outlook on life was ageless. We enjoyed each other’s company and I felt that here was a group that I would enjoy being a part of.

Much has been made recently about the importance of social interactions as one ages. The stimulation of talking and engaging in enjoyable physical activities with others is a life invigorating tonic that can’t be underestimated. I think these runners understand this very well, that running gives many rewards – physical, mental and social. That is wisdom that we can all live and run by.
~Walt Max

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