Team sports make you rely on others to succeed while individual sports like tennis and golf rely more on your individual talents to determine your success. Now imagine if you could combine the two and get the both of best worlds. I believe that is what the sport of running is. This was on display a few days ago again at the Boston Marathon while the runners ran and after tragedy struck.
I first noticed this amongst runners and fans during my cross-country seasons at Jamestown High School. Although there was the team aspect, my teammates and coaches pushed me to do my best and wanted nothing more. Sure they wanted the team to do well, but individually they wanted to see us all set PR’s. Also, once the fastest teammates were done, they wouldn’t just lay around, they’d cheer on runners that were still coming in to the finish. If these actions seem odd between competitors the fans took it to the next step. Cross-country, which is not a fan-friendly sport, had nothing but the best fans. Not only does cheering involve running to several different spots along the race course to cheer on the competitors but just because your son or daughter was in one race, it didn’t stop you as a fan from cheering on the competitors in each and every race.
Now this past week has been one that has not only torn apart a city but also shaken the running community as well. While everyone was wanting answers of who did it, the actions that took place during the tragedy is what is extraordinary. The fans that had spent all day cheering on thousands of runners at different spots along the course I’m sure, jumped right in to lend a hand when the chaos begun. Runners who had just ran as hard as they could for 26.2 miles continued running to the hospital to give blood for victims that needed it. Once again the members of the running community were not worried about themselves; they were worried about everyone else.
Now I’m sure I might get comments that it is not just the running community where this mentality of others first occurs, however runners are where I have seen this continually and never any other way. I’d like to thank my parents, coaches, teammates, and fans for strengthening these values within me. I look forward to running the Fargo Half-Marathon in a few weeks and you bet I will be cheering on fellow competitors once I am finished with my race. Although our running community will never be the “same,” I believe as we work through the uncertainty of why, we will end up stronger than ever.