Monday 24 March 2014

Time Flies When You're Having Fun

Dad just scanned in a picture of my first "race" (it was a fun run, really) and sent it to me.  It was back in the early days of the Austin Running Club.  The nation was celebrating its bicentennial, which meant the ARC hosted a 1 mile fun run, Mom fired up the sewing machine and made us all matching Stars & Stripes tops, and I got to do my first race at the ripe old age of 3.  I can't recollect how long it took, but I know it was a PB!

Nearly 4 decades later, the hike & bike trail at Town Lake (now Ladybird Johnson Lake) is still one of my favourite places in the world. Every twist, turn, bridge, and hill seems to hold a memory of one run or another.  When I was very little, Dad would do his run, and Mom was stuck walking with us as we ran/walked/sat.  I can still point out the scar on my right knee from when I fell running downhill (sound familiar?), chasing my older siblings near the gazebo over by the Congress Street bridge.  When I was in high school, racing duathlons, Dad & I would head to the lake once or twice a week after work in the summer to put in some sunny miles.  The little wooden bridge over Barton Creek always meant I was near the water fountain, if I was on the anti-clockwise loop.  Little things, important things.

Nearly 38 years ago, I wasn't quite so tall. Even then, I liked to look at the scenery.

This weekend, I joined our local Sports Relief Mile in Pershore.  Ostensibly, I was out drumming up support for EVRC's local 10K on July 13th, but in the end I just couldn't pass up the chance to run around a park surrounded by runners, walkers, and pram pushers/passengers.  As a race director, I frequently have to set out age limits and rules, fill in risk assessments, and play with bits of red tape. But as I was jogging about the park, chatting with a local teacher who received great support from his primary school students, watching parents sheltering their little ones under trees when the hail became corn-kernel-sized, I was on the other side, enjoying one of the best things in the world - people out running around having fun (once the hail stopped).

Hopefully, in a few decades, some of those little kids I saw on Saturday will look back at pictures of them with their first medal and see the start of a lifetime of happy running memories.  Running comes naturally to most of us, or it did once, and so does laughing and smiling while we do it.

Now, it's time to turn off the PC, get out, have fun, and make some new memories.

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