This post is dedicated to my running heroes. Some of them don’t even know they are my running heroes. And no, Usain Bolt is not one of them. lol. These are seemingly normal, everyday people who either inspired me to start running, motivate me to keep running, remind me why I run, started running or kept running because of my example, and any combination of the above.
The first is Oma. The first Nigerian female I knew personally to run a half marathon, an IT professional, and my friend. She was one of the people who inspired me to run my first one. I remember her laughing at me (in a good way) when I told her I was training for a 5k. This was in 2013. I watched her train. She trained hard. I also watched her finish that race. I was so proud. I said to myself, that will be me next year.
Then there’s Mr. M, engineer per excellence and friend. I had no idea he was a runner. To be honest, I didn’t know him that well at the time as I had just started my new role. Then, in my head, runners looked a certain way-they were skinny and tall, and young. Mr. M is only one of those.. I also saw him finish the half marathon in 2013 and he finished like a champ. I was like if Mr. M can do it, I have no excuse.Since then we’ve become [running] buddies. We trained together for my first half marathon the following year. He was the first person I ran 2 miles with without stopping! That was a huge milestone for me. After those 2 miles though, I was like, “you go on Mr. M, I need a walking break”. We still get together sometimes for Saturday runs with the local running club.
There’s Mr. S, an accounting professor, also my friend. Now, he looks like a runner (see description above). His facebook posts are 99% about running. How many miles he logged that day- both solo and with running group, his upcoming races, his past races, races since high school, volunteering at a cross country meet, running in all sorts of weather, etc. This guy runs and loves it. He’s done several marathons and half marathons and other races. You name it, he’s done it. His enthusiasm is very contagious, at least for me. Even through injuries and surgeries, he bounces back and puts those running shoes back on. He is one person that I’ve told he’s my running hero, hopefully he believed me.
Then there’s Caro, an engineer who works on planes and also a friend. We were talking at work and she just casually mentioned she had started running with another friend. I was like “whaaaat? I want to join! In fact, I am signing up for the half marathon!”. She was like “me too!”. We had no clue what we were getting ourselves into. lol. All 3 of us would train together sometimes but in the end, they chose to do the 5k instead that year and rocked it! Seeing our progress together was amazing. From not being able to complete a single mile in one go, to the first 5 mile training run I convinced Caro to join with the running club. Best of all, she kept running and has now signed up for her first half marathon! When she told me, I was so proud of her- she has worked hard!
All my running coaches, friends, and family members who run are my running heroes as well. They understand me when I say I’ve got a shin splint, or a blister, or a negative split. They understand when I tell them I need to carb-load. They understand when I say I need to go to bed early Friday night (and essentially be a party pooper) because I need to be up early Saturday morning for my long run.
My other running heroes are the countless people who run and keep running even when it gets hard, even when they’d rather sleep in on Saturdays, who run to raise money for charity, or cancer research or Alzheimer’s disease awareness. Who run in memory of a loved one who’s passed away. Who run to stay healthy, to keep alive, to be healthy, to fight for their lives, to be able to see their next birthday, to stay off the streets, to win medals, to show good examples to their kids, and grandkids, to prove that you can do anything if you put your mind to it, to show that there is hope still. Those who run for those who can’t run because they have lost legs or are paralyzed. I salute you all.
I have since learned that runners do not look a certain way. We come in all shapes, sizes, flavors, ages, and colors. A runner is anyone who runs. period. Not those who have completed a certain amount of races, or those who run a certain amount of days a week, or a certain amount of time per workout, those with a certain pace, or only those who do a certain distance and above. A runner is anyone who runs. I am a runner. Caro, Mr. S, Mr. M, Oma are all runners.
I have learned a lot from running and I am glad
I found it it found me. Thank you, heroes!