The runners I have met have been encouraging to me in my running journey. Runners are a friendly bunch. Maybe it’s the endorphins we get from running. Maybe it’s because we remember when we started running. I have friends who are very fast runners, and I have friends who are back of the pack runners. We can always find common ground for the love of the sport. I have been in races where people encourage one another throughout the race. When I have been struggling in a race, that shout of encouragement has pulled me though the rough patch. In one race, I was quite sick, and as I was at the back of the pack. The clean-up crew encouraged me for several miles to just keep at it and put one foot in front of the other. In my first 5K, I was struggling coming up the last hill to the finish line when one of the guys who finished at the front of the pack came back on the course and ran with me to get me across the finish line. When I look back at the pictures from that race, I remember how I felt when I finished the race. Every time I race now, I encourage the runners behind me to keep with it and finish the race. Winning is finishing. The pace does not matter.
Spectators on a race course are encouraging. Running is a mental sport and a physical sport. My longest race so far has been a marathon. Throughout the course, schools set up at various locations to sing or play instruments to encourage us. It was one run where I did not need headphones. I was entertained the whole time. Signs along the race course either placed along the course or held by spectators is also encouraging to those of us who are running. Sometimes you just need a little encouragement to get you to the next thing.
Training runs can get to be monotonous if you run alone. You can find encouragement by running with friends when you need a change. I typically run by myself, but I will run a long run with a friend who runs a similar pace. It’s easy to talk while you run, and before you know it, you have finished your run. Your running friend is an encouragement for you, and you are an encouragement for your friend. It’s mutually beneficial.
Runners can also encourage one another virtually. I am a part of several running Facebook groups, and it is a daily encouragement for me to check in with my running friends. We share about our running journey. We ask advice. We rally around one another through struggles. We push each other to do our best. We encourage each other through injuries and illness. It’s been one of the greatest sources of encouragement for my running journey to be a part of these groups.
Running has brought a lot of great people into my life.