Without the encouragement we are offered by others, very few of us would continue to run.
Encouragement comes to me in many ways. When my wife volunteers to take on extra work at home so that I can go for a run, she encourages me. When my friends run well, they encourage me to try harder. Most of all, when someone offers kind words they give my heart a lift.
We’re all suckers for a well- aimed compliment.
Over the years, I’ve heard ‘Bon Courage!’ as I staggered along French roads, ‘Bravo!’ in Italy and ‘Fair Play!’ in Ireland. This year, I heard the words ‘Good Job!’ repeated over and again as I ran through the beautiful streets of Boston. Boston is a running town to it’s core, but they do things differently there than we do in the West of Ireland. When I ran the famous Boston Marathon back in 2002, I remember seeing a huge poster that proclaimed, ‘If there is such a thing as hallowed ground in running – This is it!’ You could feel the memories of marathons past beneath your feet.
This year I was back in Beantown, mostly for work, but also to run the ‘Run to Remember’ Half Marathon. I had trained as well as my hairy little legs would allow me and I went to the start, hoping against hope to be back before an hour and twenty minutes had ticked by. On this occasion, I had been encouraged by my friend Toby to be there and we both lined up at 7.00am beside several thousand others for an early morning dash through Boston’s beautiful streets.
The racing side of it went well and I finished in 1:19 and change. Job done! Even though my result seemed important on the day, I doubt that I’ll remember the digits for long
What stood out to me on the day, and what I believe I will remember for many more years, is the encouragement that was offered to me along the way – mostly by other runners. A blizzard of ‘Good Job!’ mantras followed me along the route – each one heartfelt, each one welcome.
With each expression of empathy and support I felt a little more at home. I was amongst my own. By the time I arrived back at the finishing line I was a local.
They do the running thing differently in Boston, but they do a good job.
Hallowed ground is made with many compassionate feet.