Today I saw a sea of endurance athletes, bowing their heads in a moment of silence. We huddled close together, dressed in smart, moisture wicking fabrics branded with Nike ‘Swooshes’ and Adidas triple-lines. It was a cold, sunny morning and I could see my breath. As we lowered our heads in respect and remembrance for the passing of our honored teammate, Hunter, tears came to many eyes. Before heading out for our training, we all pinned pictures of Hunter to our clothing. It was one of the last pictures his mother took of him before he passed. And, he was smiling….
The route was tough, mostly uphill. Along the way, we passed moss-covered tree stumps and stone fences, massive trees tangled in ivy, bright red fire hydrants, stone angels and a huge white house on the lake that we all agreed was really cool. My mentor Kristen kept us laughing when it was tough and coached us through our aches and pains. But it was Hunter that carried me through when my resolve was weak. A couple of times, I chanted his name to myself with each step. Coach Sue always says, “remember the reason”. Hunter is the reason. His grieving parents are the reason. The need for a cure is the reason. The vibrant, smiling face of the survivors are the reason.
So, we did it. We finished our miles and stretches and headed to the Adidas Corporate Headquarters to pick up our shirts and bibs for tomorrows Shamrock Stride 5k. It’s my first “bib”…. #20002. There were at least 500 people stuffed into the gymnasium at Adidas and the potential was there for us to have a long wait. But, as luck would have it, the majority of the people there were runners. Since we are walkers, we walked right up to the table and got our bibs without a wait. We were then directed to another area for our shirts. As luck would have it, not many runners need XL clothing. So, again, we got the goods without a wait. As we drove away toward home, Christy said, “thank God we’re fat”. LOL!!!