Photo Credit Cary Johnson
Friends, volunteers – a quote…
“You’re only a success the moment you do a successful act, so these acts have to be repeated all the time.” – Phil Jackson
On average, I give myself a lot more latitude than is offered in this statement and I hope you do too. It is my general belief that we should show ourselves and our loved ones plenty of grace – life is hard enough. There are however, a few areas in my life where I hold myself (and a result, others) to this very stringent standard. I am guessing there are areas in your life where you hold yourself to a similar standard too. Producing races is one of them for me. You have to earn it, each and every time. It does not matter how well you did last time, and you never, ever, ever, fumble. And, let’s say, for some reason you do, because sometimes things happen, you need to jump in that scrum and come out with the ball, at all costs. No matter the challenges that come your way, you safely and methodically work through each and every one of them. You forgo sleep and comfort and set aside what you might rather be doing. When runners register for one of our races, Cheri and I feel duty-bound to provide them with a safe race and an incredible experience. Fundamentals matter. Details matter. You keep crossing T’s and dotting I’s until that first race starts on race weekend. OK, this is where I am going to get a little personal, forgive me. The result of this, as we near each event, life can get thrown terribly out of balance – especially the last few years, with all the extra complications. I have learned to lean on family and friends, hard. I ask an unreasonable amount of them one day, then come back and ask for more the next. And you know what, they deliver, because they too don’t fumble. Because they too, believe. And then come race weekend, the cavalry arrives; you amazing, dynamic, selfless, hardworking, volunteers. It’s like one of those scenes in the movies, “There here! OK we’ve got this now!“. So when I say, “we don’t do this alone” or “all credit to our volunteers”, it is not hyperbole – it is the gospel truth. I can honestly say I just only slightly understand any of this – how and why this, and you, are a part of our lives and our experience… but we are so terribly grateful that it is, and you are.
With the permission of the person who sent it, I shared the following in my recap to runners, it felt even more important that I share it with you, as it speaks directly to what we have created together and why it is worth the effort, sometimes struggle, to keep it going.
“An email of gratitude. My first experience with your races was the 2022 Superior Spring Trail Race 25K. I came across your website through a simple Google search, and was intrigued, as I had never done a trail run before. Due to the changes of the course I was hesitant to show up race morning but decided I would show up to packet pickup and see what Rocksteady Running was all about. From the moment I set foot near the packet pickup tent, your team of volunteers blew me away. I was treated with so much kindness, joy and support…it literally melted my heart. The next day’s run in the “pit” was pure joy. I don’t have words to express the impact the community of volunteers and runners had on me. I called my husband after that run and told him that he needed to be a part of the run the following year. He had been called out of the country for work that weekend and was unable to run his spot in that 2022 race. We decided we would take our guaranteed lottery spots for 2023 and run the 50k. This past weekend was so incredible. The volunteers, the runners and the beauty of the trail I will carry in my heart as some of the best moments of my life. I don’t say that lightly. Thank you for all you’ve done to create an environment of beauty and support. I was that girl in school who would fake being sick if she knew she had to run the Presidential Fitness Test in gym class. I was so insecure as a child often telling myself, “ you aren’t good enough, you aren’t fast, you don’t fit in, you look dumb running” so I’d find any possible way to get out of running in gym. My experience on the trail this past weekend brought much different voices in my head , “you are strong, you belong here” and as I observed those incredible runners ahead of me, I found myself thinking and saying to them “look how strong they are, look how they are persevering, look at the joy they radiate”. Such a shift in my internal world. I have five children and their births were moments of joy that very little in life can compare to. When I crossed the finish line on Saturday, I was met with a deep internal joy that I will never forget. That joy came from the hours of overcoming self on the trail, cheering others along as they passed me, listening to encouraging words from volunteers and runners, helping each other as we struggled to put one foot in front of the other. You’ve created an environment of healing for some (I’m not unique in my insecurities), challenge for all, and most importantly; a place where people seem to genuinely care for and encourage each other. As I told my husband, the tears that ran down my face as I approached the finish line on Saturday were not tears stemming so much from the accomplishment of finishing the race – they were tears of pure gratitude for the people I had encountered from packet pick up through the finish line – tears of gratitude for the people I had encountered within the incredible environment you’ve created.”
It is one of our life’s great honors getting to do these good works with you – these are experiences I will carry throughout this life, and likely into the next.
Superior Trail Race