Back in September I ran the relay of the Rock n Roll Providence. It was nice only running 8 miles of the half marathon course. After my partner Lisa snuck up on me at the relay transition (I expected I had about 15 more minutes of relaxing) I ran my leg and our combined race time was just over 2 hours. Finishing the race in 2 hours gave me time to put on fresh clothes, listen to a few songs from Atlas genius, and cheer for the people in the back of the pack.
As the seconds and minutes on the race clock tick by and the time increases from 2 hours to 2 and a half to 3 hours the numbers of runners on the course becomes more sparse. Compared to earlier racers, these runners appear to be walking. Their goal is to finish, not to get a Personal Record.
The finish line in Providence looks down a hill. The space between runners gets wider. At times it appears that last runner crossed the finish line. Then from around the corner and up the hill, a few more runners appear. With dogged determination they ascend the last stretch. They made it. They will collect their medal and most important be counted among the finishers.
As I restart my journey into running I reflect on why I love running and the running community. Seeing the last finishers, the back of the packers finish their race is a reminder of the importance of finishing. It is a testament to why I enjoy running. I am reminded it is not always about being the swiftest and most graceful runner; sometimes it is about being the person who has the persistence to not quit the race.