I woke up Monday morning to the news two of my teammates ran personal bests at Regina’s Queen City Marathon on Sunday. Though I’m thousands of miles away in Omaha, Nebraska I’m always excited when I see my teammates reaching their goals.
Being a part of a team has been an integral piece of my running journey. When I returned to Saskatoon after reporting in the Northwest Territories, I committed to becoming the best runner I could possibly be. I didn’t know much about the sport, other than that I loved doing it. Beyond that, I knew that if I wanted to reach my full potential, I would need the guidance of a coach.
A friend of mine connected me with the irreplaceable coach Jason Warick, who in turn connected me with the group of runners I’ve grown, learned, laughed and thrived with. For a year-and-a-half, I met with this group of competitive runners twice a week: rain, shine, snow, ice, sub-zero temperatures, you name it– we ran in it together.
If you’ve ever run with a group of runners (or even one running buddy) you’ll understand the benefits of leaving some of those solo runs behind. If you have yet to run with others, there’s a whole new running experience awaiting. The inspiration, support, motivation, and camaraderie found with a group of like-minded runners is one of the many gifts the sport has to offer.
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Running is full of highs and lows. Having supportive people around to go through these ups and downs with is beneficial beyond measure. During the lows (injury, illness, poor performances, lacking motivation), having people who can relate and empathize, will pick you up more times than you would think. I can recall numerous practices where I felt down because I was battling injury, or working through the complications of my ADHD diagnosis. In those moments, having a group meant a lot. Witnessing others work through challenges is inspiring. It’s a reminder that you’re not the only runner out there who’s having a tough go at it. The opportunity to share our struggles with one another, and to pick each other up is a gift all runners should be so lucky to give and receive.
Just as the low times are made better by the support of others, so too are the good times. To be able to share in the celebration of someone else’s accomplishments (or to have others share yours) is just as significant. When you’ve put in tough, freezing, grueling miles together and pushed and tested one another’s limits, you become a part of each other’s journeys and feel the joy of one another’s accomplishments.
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Through it all, my experience running with others culminates in a more even-keeled approach to the big, long, running game. When I experience a setback, I’m likely to also witness a teammate moving closer to a goal. The same goes when I’m running well and am reminded of the fickle nature of the sport by someone else’s setback. It’s this push and pull, and one’s ability not to get too high or too low that leads to longevity in the sport, and ultimately to success– however you may define that.