I would hope that my friends and family, if asked directly, would agree that two personality traits I have carried throughout my life are Optimism and Patience. Over the last several years those have been pushed to the limit with what I have been observing with everyday life, whether in person or on the news. The way we have come to treat one another is pretty bad. Now I know that our crime rate is down around this country when compared to years ago which is great to see. Frankly, a very small percentage of people are making up that population of physically harming others so we can assume most wouldn’t. What I have always been shocked by are the simple things we don’t do that seem so easy to do in order to help our fellow humans out. It could be simply letting someone merge into a lane on the road (instead we speed up) or helping someone struggling to put the bag in the overhead bin on an airplane. Whatever it might be, we need to do more of it.
That is why today was great. I ran my first ever race and it was called the Tar Heel 10-Miler in Chapel Hill, NC. I have done other athletic things throughout my life but this was a huge challenge for me because I dislike running. Hate would probably be an appropriate word. However, I was challenged by my wife and some neighbors last fall and I accepted. I really focused on training to do well over the last several months.
Having never been to a race before, it was really cool to see the turnout. The atmosphere was electric with so many people around and I was pretty amped up and had my music blaring to keep me motivated throughout. It was fun (besides the pain in my legs late in the race), and I finished the 10-miles at 1:51:12. Not bad, I guess. But that wasn’t the biggest takeaway I had from the race as I thought it might be training all those months prior.
As I was on about mile 7, I was trying to keep focused on anything but my body which was starting to really hurt. So, I turned my focus onto the other runners. All different types of runners; large and small, short and tall, it didn’t matter. We were all running together!
Everyone had different goals in mind entering the race whether to simple finish to gain a sense of accomplishment or maybe to support a great cause. I even saw a Firefighter with his full gear on running the race. Pretty cool! It was so great to see all of these different people from all walks of life running together; no bad thoughts, no hatred, no judgement, just purely focused on the task at hand.
Then there were the fans. People setting up shop on their driveways, volunteers giving out water, or just random folks at various parts throughout the course. At every turn they were there cheering and applauding the efforts of people they have never met before. Maybe they enjoyed watching the runners or enjoyed athletic events but it’s not like we were Jordan Spieth at The Masters just a week ago, we were unknowns. However, those people knew why we were racing and why we showed up that day to compete. They took time out of their day to clap and smile and give us all a little extra motivation as we were finishing the race. It was a great sight.
Today gave me more hope in our human race. We have a lot of problems, no one will deny that, but for just a split second or maybe a few hours, we all came together to accomplish something, whatever that something was. The moral of the story is that we did it being KIND to one another, being FRIENDLY, and being COURTEOUS.
Today I saw a lot of good in the world.
I hope to see more.