Not a runner?
Thirteen years old and lining up for the school cross country. I pushed my shoe into the muddy ground. Rarely did we have the freedom to get covered in dirt at school. It was a brief thought, replaced with the worry of the race about to start.
I was not a runner.
The previous years had proven to me I was slow. This had been reinforced by the disinterest shown by my primary school physical education teacher.
It would be easier to join those who loudly didn’t care. Cut the course and walk. That way it wouldn’t matter how I went. No one else was concerned where I placed or how fast I went.
Yet I moved closer towards the front of the line up. Not in the first line. That was for the runners.
Cold air had made it hard to breath at the start of the race. Now it was almost soothing. I wanted more, but couldn’t breathe in that much. A film of sweat obscured my view ahead. It was hard to make out the runners in front of me. They had started as a pack, but were now spread out in pairs or single file.
Thoughts of being slow dissipated. I wasn’t able to make my legs go faster. This didn’t seem to be a problem as I wasn’t slowing down. Some of the runners ahead of me looked like they couldn’t run anymore. A few started walking.
I kept running.
Amongst The Runners
Suddenly I was amongst the runners. This is where I stayed through to the finish. Exact placing and time didn’t matter. Mud obscured the finish line. I think I ran a little further than necessary.
Now I could suck in enough cold air. It felt good. Physically tired and sore, but not exhausted. My mind bounced around ideas and realisations. The race was more than fun. Without knowing it at the time I was experiencing the euphoria of the runners high.
To many it’s just a school cross country race. Most kids have run these. For me it set the seed that grew into a running future. I didn’t know it at the time, but over the years I discovered I was made for running.
I continued to stay with the runners over the years. It was and is an amazing community.
I kept running.
If You Run
Starting out thinking I was not a runner was misguided. If you run, then you are a runner.
For a little more on this running journey check out Starting My Running Journey.