Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Went to a party and a race broke out

See... told ya.

The Back on My Feet 42K Relay was a total blast.

Over 95 Teams

Gorgeous location

Bitchin' course

Perfect morning

Some quotes... from real people... not made up, I promise:

  • "For sure the most fun I've ever had at a race!"
  • "I think all races should be just like yesterday."
  • "That was too fun. When's the next one?"
  • "You'll be able to spot your dad easy, he runs like a girl."*
There were some great performances put in on Sunday.
  • A two-person team finished 6th overall. 
  • 5 people ran the whole deal solo.
  • "The Firm" wore ties, long-sleeve shirts, and dress pants, for the duration. (Guys, you might want to read this post on chafing.)
  • We formed a circle of 400 people.
  • I passed The Flash, who wasn't nearly as fast as I'd been led to believe by the comic books.
There were hundreds of great stories created last Sunday morning.

There are also many great stories about how some of those runners found themselves on that bridge, surrounded by caring, loving, supportive friends that they didn't have just a few weeks ago. And about how they're running farther and faster and stronger than they ever could have dreamed that same few weeks ago. And about how far they've come personally, in so many ways, since that same few weeks ago. And there are even more great stories to come as they move forward in their personal journey of rediscovery, a journey that started with Back on My Feet.

One of my favorite stories, though, has nothing to do with that stuff, directly. It's the story of "McMarathoners", a CoEd, 2-person team, the members of which happen to be married... to each other. It's possible that they chose this approach so they wouldn't have to spend any time together during the relay. But I'm pretty sure that's not the case. A couple that can share a marathon, 2.2 miles at a time, has got something going on.

The McMarathoners also wore kilts

The real star of the event, though, was the event itself. With manageable distances and plenty of time to hang out, visit with friends, make new ones, it was a true celebration of running, and of the fellowship that runners share. That's fitting, really, considering that's the foundation on which Back on My Feet is built. The fantastic setting, the music, the goofy costumes, the loud cheers for runners coming in and going out, the even louder cheers for runners across the river, and the mingling of 95 teams of runners, my kind of people, made it one of the best races of any kind I've ever attended.

Everyone was smiling and laughing and chatting and having fun. And I don't just mean when they were on the bridge waiting to run. Out on the course I exchanged at least a couple words with everyone I passed, and everyone who passed me. I'm not talking about the usual "Good job" or "Looking good". I asked most of those I was running next to "Having fun?", and every single one of them replied with some form of "Hell yes! You?" That is the sign of a truly special event.

Until you've done a distance relay, you can't appreciate the camaraderie you feel with your team. And until you've done a short loop distance relay, you can't appreciate how much camaraderie you can feel for, and from, the other teams.

I personally want to thank my good friend Marty for lending his race to Back on My Feet and for the idea of having it in beautiful White River Park, and Beth for giving the green light (way better than a 5K, right?) and her most excellent leadership and daring to think that we might have as many as 70 teams, and I'm sure Brian did something helpful. And a huge virtual standing ovation for Lindsey for making it all actually real. You're a rock star!

Beth and Lindsey

And special thanks to Bob, Mike, and Eric for manning up and keeping it fun. Next time, a better name, better splits, and we're gonna tailgate until they kick us out.

10th over all, 7th in division,
#28 in your program but #1 in your hearts,
The Nerd Herd
Voted Sexiest Male Team (unofficially)

Good running,

*Thanks, Bob, for the gift that keeps on giving... the gift of perpetual ridicule from one's children.

Photos from GreenSky Media (Chris Thornberry), Kelly's Blog, and the GF.