On a recent episode of one of my favorite podcasts, You Had to be There, you could almost hear guest Rory Scovel and co-host Nikki Glaser roll their eyes as Sara Schaefer shared another story that involved running. Given that Erin had reacted similarly on several of our recent episodes I found the moment Rory said “we get it Sara, you run. You are a runner.” particularly hilarious.
I also understand that many of you may be rolling your eyes as you realize that I’m about to embark on yet another running-related post.
My apologies, but I just can’t help myself. Because today was a great day.
You may not know this, but from 1897 until 1924, the Boston Marathon started not in Hopkinton, but here in Ashland, Massachusetts. Today, a new race and hopefully a new tradition started, the Ashland Half Marathon and 5K. Organized by our redevelopment authority, money raised through the race will be used to improve Marathon Park, which is dedicated to the original start line.
During a run this summer, a client told me that he thought the future of fundraisers was in running races like the Ashland Half Marathon. Unlike other fundraisers, like golf tournaments, fundraising runs are less expensive to run (allowing the charity to keep more of the money they raise); take less time (a few hours instead of all day); allow more people to participate, and bring together a community.
Today I saw exactly what he was talking about.
According to CoolRunning.com, over 700 people gathered to run either the 5K or half marathon. With them came hundreds of family members, friends and neighbors, drawn to Marathon Park on a cold and overcast day to cheer on the runners.
While I didn’t bring my family – Steve was working another race and the kids were happily camped out with a babysitter – I was surrounded by friends and neighbors who cheered me as we ran through town. Waiting at the end for my neighbors to finish the race, I cheered for the many familiar faces coming down the final stretch and over the finish line.
It was a great day to live in Ashland.
Then, a long hot shower and several hours later, I learned my results. Not only had I smashed my previous best time (7:54 min/mi), but I actually finished third in my age group!
I’m still a bit stunned by my performance, and don’t expect that every race will go this quickly or well. But I do know two things for sure. . .
I’m addicted to the run.
I’m going to continue to make everyone crazy with my stories that start with “on my last run.”