Appreciating the Support

Salt Lake City Marathon was fantastic. I finished slightly under my goal time of 4:30. I didn’t want to run the race quickly with Salt Flats 100 next weekend. The new course wove through beautiful neighborhoods lined with old gnarled trees. It slalomed down City Creek Canyon and skipped through the center of the city. It then cascaded to the south only to return you back to the center of Salt Lake.

I love watching people finish a marathon. You can generally tell who the first timer finishers are. They are beaming with pride and glowing with joy. All right and their knees are wrapped in ice and shoes are kicked off. The sun has burned their cheeks. And they are collapsed beneath the trees surrounded by family and friends.

Honestly, I don’t think many of us could be runners without or family and friend’s support. I know I couldn’t. Especially, the distances I run. My family and friend are my pacers and crew. My dad helps me with my boys when I run relay races that take between two and three days to complete.

Family and friends are a valuable resource to runners for so many reasons. They provide encouragement and support throughout the training program and the race. The possibilities for helping out during training are endless. At race time, they can volunteer for races, be at the starting line, finish line, and out on the course cheering you on.

Family and Friends want to be a part of your life and join in the experiences that you love as much as they can. They want to share your joy and success. There are many ways that they can join in and support you in your running. Races are always in need of volunteers.

Operating an aid station for a race gives you a real appreciation for the accomplishment of running. You watch runners struggle and keep going. Most runners are very courteous and grateful to volunteers. Races would not happen without the volunteer support. Many races give their volunteers race swag such as t-shirts, coupons, and samples of sponsor’s products, similar to what the runners get. Most importantly volunteering allows them to see you, their runner, out there on the course. Volunteering may also motivate them to give running a try, or not.

If I have someone at the finish line cheering for me it encourages me the whole race. I want to come across that finish line looking and feeling strong. When I am at a down point or want to walk, knowing that I have people waiting for me gives me just one more reason to keep going. As soon as the finish line is in sight, runners are looking for their personal fans, pulling their shoulders back, and picking up their pace as much as they can. You know that once you cross the finish line your loved ones will help you get a chair, ice, water, a banana or just take off your shoes

Supporting and encouraging a runner is a big responsibility. Our families deal with us being gone on our long runs on the weekends. They ignore our grouchiness from being tired after our long runs. They are quiet when we are going to bed early, as if we are seventy-five years old instead of thirty.

They help save money for us to buy our hundred and twenty dollar shoes every four hundred miles in addition to the gels, registration fees, and clothing we need. They smile at strangers who watch us wolf down entire pizzas at a restaurant after a race. They listen to our crazy stories and ideas that come to us out on the trail and road. They pick us up when we don’t meet our own expectations. They cheer as we cross the finish line and even when we don’t.

So make sure and do something special for those who support your crazy running!

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