Monday, May 11, 2009

Community of Runners (Part 2)

Saturday was the official running of the John Wilt Memorial 5K. Thanks to Facebook, I can tell you that John's friends were running everywhere on Saturday - thus far I've seen photo evidence of runners in Manhattan and Tuscon, and have read reports of others running, too. I expect more photos will be posted this week showing those runners in action. My friend Beth, the race's director, reported that the race started with John's best friend, TJ, and her husband (a fellow former Marine, like John) starting out 20 seconds early with the Marine flag. It was a somber start to the race, a true heart-felt and silent tribute to John. But, as John would have insisted, the race quickly picked up energy and excitement once the rest of the runners got going, ending with a post-race celebration with quite a large group of our classmates who were able to attend the race.

I originally thought just a few local runners would join me for my Washington-based tribute run. While my closest running gal friends showed up, I was thrilled that an additional 3 were able to join, bringing our tally to six moms out for an early morning 5K on Mother's Day Eve. Since we started in the parking lot by our local police station, we were able to flag down an officer to take our photo before he headed out on his rounds. The fog hadn't completely lifted yet when we got started, but it didn't slow us down any. With six runners on the course, we were able to comfortably split into two pace groups. One gal sprinted ahead to do a fast final mile (WAY faster than I could maintain - she truly left us in her dust!), but my neighbor and I managed a respectable 28:30 finish and we jogged back to accompany the second pace group to the finish just a few short minutes later. Two of those gals report that they ran PRs! We were truly "Girls Who Love to Run". And, yes, that is me with my yellow hat!

I don't remember the last time I ran with someone else, let alone a handful of women for a group run. I really enjoyed it. And apparently, so did they (not so surprising, based on what I've read on other people's blogs and on on-line running communities, group runs ARE inspiring). They asked if I'd put together some group runs again soon, which I plan to start-up in the next week (and already know of a few others who would like to run with us). And to top it all off, my neighbor and I decided today to sign-up and train for a fall half-marathon together since our pacing is so similar. I guess I AM doing a half this year, no more excuses!!

So, thanks to my friend Beth and our John (and his parents and close friends), for bringing together this little group of women in Duvall, WA for a run on Saturday. It seems their reach of influence far exceeds the John Wilt Memorial 5K - they're now responsible for influencing a Saturday morning running group and a pair of women who can count on one another for half-marathon training support. Aren't runners and girlfriends the best? I love being part of this community.
So what's next on my race plate? I'll be running with an 11 year-old girl for the Duvall Days 5K the first Saturday in June! Her parents won a package the REF auction that included a copy of my book and the chance to have me run with someone at the race. I'm excited!


teacherwoman said...

Sounds like a great time!

Pavement Runner said...

LOL. I didn't read yours until I was ready to post mine. (Then I added a link to yours). I wrote mine this morning on the way to work since I ran 2-3 miles more than I expected yesterday, thanks to a group.

Great job on your run too! Sounds like you are more than back into it.

Running minds think alike?

Girl on Top said...

That is super awesome! I would love to have a women's running group too.