The first road race I ever took part in was the Children’s One Mile Fun Run at the Capaha Classic 5K in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. The year was 1988 and my brother-in-law was a runner and also worked for the Parks and Recreation department. I thought he was cool and figured it would be fun, plus there were trophies! I will never forget that first race. Not having a clue about how to pace or anything like that but understood that whoever gets to the finish line first wins. At a little over half way, there was this long, straight hill you had to run up until you took a right hand turn and had about a quarter mile to the finish. On that hill I questioned my existence as a ten year old. Legs throbbing, heart racing, breathing ridiculous, wanting to stop, but I was in second place. The next thing I remember is the finishing straight, trying to go faster but being unable to catch the kid in front of me. I cried, I was tired, my body hurt. But, I got second place, a little trophy that I thought was amazing, and lots of people telling me great job. I loved that feeling.
Since that day, I have done more races than I can remember. Everything from 5K’s to 50 milers. I have won trail races and been heartbroken not finishing Boston but I have never stopped racing. I’ve coached kids to top ten finishes at the State Championships and I’ve coached kids to last place finishes in the Parochial League Invitationals. I do it because I love it.
We race because we want to see what we can do. What we are made of.
We race because we will spend countless hours training together, suffering together, pushing each other, and encouraging each other.
We race because it takes guts, it takes courage, and it takes believing in yourself.
We race because we love it.
We race because it’s fun.
In 1989, I lined up again at Capaha Park to race that mile. I won.