I usually look forward to being with my running group, but was tempted to stay home last week the training plan said “500 Mile Challenge.”
I’m so glad that I went
The challenge ended up being a relay, so runners would go around a 400 meter track then get in line waiting for someone to tag them, and run another 400 meters. Thankfully they brought in people from all of our running groups so there were around 100 of us there (so everyone ran about 18 laps).
At about lap ten I started to notice that everyone was running differently
1. Instead of a relaxed pace they were trying to pass everyone else
2. There was no conversation going on (we normally talk a lot during our runs)
3. Towards the end of every lap they would sprint to the finish
At lap twelve two people from a slower training group blew by me as if I was standing still (though I was sprinting for the finish line) between sips of water I said to one “wow you guys were flying out there.”
She smiled and pointing at the other runner said “I couldn’t let him beat me.”
For the rest of our 500 Mile Challenge I watched runners push each other (sometimes verbally, sometimes by going faster) into racing the last 100 meters in their lap…it was an awesome thing to watch individuals who claimed they had nothing left turn into Usain Bolt when challenged by a friend.
When we reached 500 Miles those who had completed their laps stood applauding as others finished their last ones….
And everyone sprinted.
Our 500 Mile Challenge taught me some very important truths about being competitive, or driven in life
- 1. Some of us are born with a strong competitive nature, others aren’t
2. Those without this many times feel they can’t be competitive
3. This isn’t true because amazing motivation can come from a loving friend who challenges us
Last Fall a runner in our group named John simply wouldn’t believe me when I told him I wasn’t fast enough to keep up with him. Many dark nights running around Hanes Park Track when I started lagging behind he would shout “come on Johnny boy you can do this!” and every time I was able to keep up. It wasn’t always pretty or fast but I finished.
I firmly believe if the world had more people like him, then we would accomplish a lot more.