Out There: An Open Letter To Runners Everywhere

It doesn't always matter how you finish the race. Photo: www.shutterstock.com

It’s the athletes that make the sport of running what it is.

To the race winners: I wish I knew what it was like to have that kind of speed; you finished the full marathon in the time it takes most people to run a half. I would love to one day feel the finish-line tape across my stomach. Nice work! You inspire me.

To the professional athletes: As we hear of more and more athletes partaking in illegal practices to cheat their way to a win, we fail to acknowledge there are so many more professionals who train honestly and ethically. Though the dopers are getting the headlines these days, know this: I see you, and I admire you for what you do with effort, dedication, and integrity. Nice work! You inspire me.

To the Boston Qualifiers: Congratulations! You punched your ticket to the most revered of races. I hope to join your ranks one day. Nice work! You inspire me.

To the young runners: It took me far too long to learn out how great this sport can be. I wish I had figured it out when I was your age. Nice work! You inspire me.

To the older-and-wiser crowd: You are proof positive that it’s never too late to start running. If I can be even half as active as you when I’m your age, I will consider it a success. Nice work! You inspire me.

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To the athletes waving to their friends and family on the sidelines: Though they may call you crazy, you’re setting an amazing example for them — not just about running, but the importance of setting a goal and working hard to achieve it. Lead by example. You’ll be surprised how many follow in your footsteps. Nice work! You inspire me.

To the racers wearing giant tutus and costumes: Thanks for reminding me not to take this sport so seriously. Sure, running is supposed to be hard, but who says we can’t have a few laughs along the way? Nice work! You inspire me.

To the athletes using a structured run/walk strategy: It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of race day and toss your plan out the window in the first few miles. Kudos for sticking to your strategy. Nice work! You inspire me.

To those disappointed by their performance: I’m sorry today isn’t your day. It’s impressive, though, how you dug deep and continued toward the finish line. Each race provides lessons learned and a chance to improve upon past mistakes. I hope I’ll see you the next race, stronger than ever. Nice work! You inspire me.

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To the last place finisher: You know what they call the athletes in first place and last place? Marathon finishers. Nice work! You inspire me.

To my fellow athletes: Today, there’s hundreds, even thousands of people who have taken to this one place, to do this one thing … and yet no two runners are the same. That’s the beauty of our sport.

Nice work, all.

You inspire me.

****

About The Author:

Susan Lacke does 5Ks, Ironman Triathlons, and everything in between to justify her love for cupcakes (yes, she eats that many). In addition to writing for Competitor, she serves as Resident Triathlete for No Meat Athlete, a website dedicated to vegetarian endurance athletes. Susan lives and trains in Phoenix, Arizona with three animals: A labrador, a cattle dog, and a freakishly tall triathlete boyfriend. She claims to be of sound mind, though this has yet to be substantiated by a medical expert. Follow her on Twitter: @SusanLacke

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