Friday, August 28, 2015

Passing on the Torch to the Next Generation of Runners

Traveled to Madison, Wisconsin for a half marathon race with my friend Nicole.

Post-race, all smiles at the weiner mobile.

The afterparty was at the most picturesque location on the banks of Lake Mendota.

An iconic symbol at the University of Wisconsin: the famous chairs.  Why chairs?  We never got our answer.

For the last 25 years, I've been a runner.  I've devoted countless hours to chasing the next PR and reaching the next running milestone.  It's been an endlessly frustrating and fulfilling process.  But, now that I've dipped a toe into the 40s, I'm well aware that my running days are changing.  Injury-prevention and longevity have become familiar terms.

I want to be running into my golden years.  I pray that happens.  But, the reality is my running will morph into something different as I accumulate birthdays.  For the last two weeks, I've discovered that "older" runners can still find the joy in running by passing the torch onto the next generation of runners: children.

I've started a running club for 3rd and 4th graders in my sons' elementary school.  It's a small school, and so I assumed we'd maybe have a dozen children.  I prayed for 15 runners.  When 28 runners registered for the club, I was blown away.

Club members run for 20 minutes at meetings.  Our ultimate goal is to run a 5K race together.  I assumed the kids would whine and fuss about sweating along a course.  Such has not been the case.  The kids are having a blast.  The smiles on their faces are contagious.  They love to give high fives, to hear encouragement, and to run faster and further than they've run before.

I smile every time I think about the kids (at every single skill level) racing around the tracks with proud expressions on their faces.  It gives this runner a high that rivals any PR....with a lot less work.


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