why running is not a solo sport
posted: April 24, 2014
Running is not a solo sport, despite how it’s classified at major sporting events. Sure, nobody can run your miles for you, but if it takes a village to raise a child, it takes an army to run a marathon.
I began my relationship with long distance running 11 years ago after the end of a high school track career left my shoes gathering dust. In those years I’ve seen the start and finish lines of 11 marathons, around 25 half marathons and more training runs than I can count, but more than that, I’ve built a team, a family.
April is commonly known in my world—in a runner’s world—as “Marathon Month,” and is the eagerly anticipated pay-off to months of tough winter training. It’s the time of year when hundreds of thousands runners flock to toe start lines and millions of people line courses to cheer. The army marches and the race finds its heartbeat.
They are the volunteers that wake long before sunrise and stay well beyond the last person to cross the line; the spectators who wouldn’t think twice about hugging a random, sweaty stranger; the spouses, friends and family that watch your children as you head out for a four-hour training run or race; the training partner who will revel in your successes, even when they didn’t make their own goal; the runner beside you who picks you up (sometimes literally) and tells you that you are going to cross that line. These are the things that make hearts beat together and the reason we lace up to begin with.
Katherine Switzer famously said, “If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.” I have run races in my own backyard and across the globe, some with teammates beside me and some by myself. But I have never, ever been alone.
Inspired to start running? We’ve got 10 convincing reasons to lace up your shoes right now.