Our Race Director calls it Christmas in July, and I find that the analogy is apt. The weekend started gently with a few events on Thursday and culminated joyfully with the marathon and half on Sunday. Three days of camaraderie left me with a sustained case of runner’s high, and it spilled over into the next day. Santa couldn’t have done better. Following are some gifts I found under the marathon tree this year.
Here Comes Jeff
Jeff Galloway arrived Thursday afternoon for the grand finale of twice-yearly visits over the past seven years. Jeff’s influence on our running community is immeasurable. Missoula run-walk-runners who have trained under his program number in the hundreds. We represent a significant sector within Run Wild Missoula membership. The quality of many lives has been enhanced by his approach to fitness that is accessible to all ages and abilities. I have been privileged to serve as his host and driver since the beginning; what a delight that has been.
Convening and Re-convening
Last summer’s Great Alaskan Running Cruise brought together a large contingent of 50-state half marathoners. I had a great chance there to talk up my favorite race in Montana. About a dozen folks from the cruise (and from all over the country) convened for lunch on Saturday. Running buddies are a special breed: warm, open, welcoming, and quick to bond.
Those qualities were also evident within the Run 4 Joy network! Two women I had met only through this blog and our Facebook group showed up here over the weekend. We were able to connect easily and share a hug before moving on. I suspect we will find one another again sometime, somewhere.
BOP Buddies are Best
Last and in many ways best, I loved sharing with local friends from Galloway training and the Back of the Pack. The deep and caring bonds we have formed come to a head this time of year. We celebrate victories and respect the power of setbacks. Buddies on injured reserve come to cheer for those who have returned after healing. We test ourselves and learn more about our capacity and limitations. And we do it together
Runner’s High Endures
Looking back over marathon weekend/Christmas in July, I am savoring the gifts I received. Runner’s high runs deeper than endorphins and the ego-boost of achieving a personal goal. It is about belonging to a community of love, optimism, and support.
I am writing this on Tuesday now, and Facebook has settled down. A few more marathon photos pop up, but family vacation photos, political articles, and cute cat videos have resumed their usual roles. I carry the gifts within me and know they will last a long, long time.