Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Running Club Finishes

School running club right before these kids ran a 5K race.

Lined up and ready for the start!

Cooper positioned himself by a group of friends.

Running coaches for two local schools.  So grateful to have Nicole to provide advice and support!

Cooper and Collin are all smiles after finishing the Hit the Bricks 5K race.

Just got this picture back from Mom and Dad's 50th Anniversary weekend (thanks Mom and Dad).  Might be the Christmas Card photo.

I'm used to crossing race finish lines.  After pounding the pavement for miles, cruising past the finish line induces a euphoric feeling that has no equal.  I've found few experiences in life that compare.

On Saturday, I stood at the finish line with an unobstructed view of the finishers.  I waited for my kids to arrive.  By "my kids," I mean my two sons and the over 30 kids I coached in the elementary running club.  I affectionally call them "my kids," because over the course of six-weeks training they transformed from strangers to dear ones.

Children who rarely left the couch began racking up miles.  I had every sort of runner from kids who enjoyed the shared experience with a friend to those who looked Olympic bound.  I loved the whole spectrum of these runners.  The ones who tried so hard and barely completed a mile were just as precious to me as the ones who breezed through four miles without breaking a sweat.

The Hit the Bricks 5K was their final run.  The kids lined up outside the high school starting line.  Many expressed anxiety.  A few looked concerned.  When the gun went off, they raced past me and disappeared beyond a tree line.

I stood at the finish line facing my own anxiety.  Were they prepared well enough?  Were they doing alright along the course?  The beauty of a 5K race is that time goes quickly.

Around the 20-minute mark, my first runner came into sight.  He was focused as his stride quickened to reach the finish line.  The minute his toe crossed the line, a big smile emerged along his face. But, I think my smile was greater than his.

I got to experience this blessed feeling over 30 more times as I watched kid after glorious kid cross the finish line.  The smiles.  The euphoria.  The pride.  The joy.  These are the feelings that drape the finish line.  My own finishes pale in comparison to the experience of watching these kids.

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