When was the last time you experienced a race? The big kind, with registration tables, little cups of water, finish lines, swag and bananas at the end? If you have never tried this, I would encourage you to consider it. I love a race, and here’s why…
Upon early morning arrival, nervous excitement fills the air, music blaring, people beginning to gather as they get the lay of the land. There is a camaraderie that begins to form as people pin bib numbers on shirts and talk about what lies ahead. No one is sizing you up and judging you, everyone is just impressed you are there because they’re impressed, THEY are there.
On your mark, get set, go!
You are clumped in groups based on the pace you estimated you’ll complete the race. So, immediately you are surrounded with like minded people all with the same goal, to get across the finish line alive. You will see every shape, size and age in your group. Some people may have adaptive equipment, such as prosthetic legs or canes. None of this matters. You are so hyped up about how YOU are going to accomplish this; you don’t have time to wonder how they will. You are all in this thing together!
Volunteers are on the route to cheer you on. Their sole purpose is to be sure you’re feeling OK, hydrate you and tell you you’re doing a great job. There is no other place in adult life where this can be experienced. Have you ever shown up to work or church and had a line of people telling you “you’ve got this” and put a cup of water in your hand that you can subsequently just throw on the floor and walk away?
The finish line is packed with people smiling, cheering and clapping as you come into the home stretch. Regardless of the time on the clock, crossing the finish line gives you an incredible sense of accomplishment. You finished, that is what’s important. If your own validation isn’t enough (which it absolutely should be), just look at the smiling faces that are excited for you.
A race is an opportunity for all of the ‘isms’ and other crap in life to fall away. It’s a place where humans are just excited for other humans. Racism, sexism, ageism, political affiliations, genders and religions don’t matter there. The goal is for everyone to get from the bib table to the banana table. If you’ve never experienced this, I encourage you to lace up your sneakers and get out there. You may just be the encouragement someone else needs that day and plus, YOU’VE GOT THIS!