I used to be athletic, or reasonably so. I played volleyball in high school though my time was spent more as a bench warmer than an admired spiker. I am tempted to blame it on the fact that I was vertically challenged (and still am) but I’m not sure that would be completely accurate. I think perhaps I just stunk at volleyball. I wasn’t much of a team sports person. I liked challenging myself at track and gymnastics, where I could rely on my own skill to measure my athletic prowess or lack thereof, depending on the day.
On Sunday last I watched over two thousands runners participate in the Valley Harvest Marathon in Wolfville. This race is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon if runners are so inclined, so athletes came from across Canada and the US. There was also a 50-kilometre race for those who wanted a near death experience, a full marathon, a half marathon, 10K and 5K. No matter which race a runner was in, they were all champions in my books.
Marathon Day was a gorgeous day, the sun brilliant and the sky blue. The stadium at Acadia University was bursting with spectators and finished racers and the energy was absolutely electric. I felt like jumping up and down and shouting. There were tall runners, short runners, fat runners, skinny runners, old runners, young runners, runners who limped, runners who bounced; the whole spectrum. It was thrilling to watch and I imagined myself on the road with these two thousand runners. I’m pretty sure I’d be bringing up the rear, but I wanted to share the moment, high five them when I burst or staggered over the finish line. I wanted to know the agony of training and the glory of finishing. It takes dedicated commitment to run those distances; training, training and some more training. It takes dedicated commitment for most of us to run to the house from the car when it is raining.
The marathon had a kids’ division for children under twelve the Saturday evening before the big races. One thousand children participated with lots of little tikes who could barely run and were easily distracted. They wandered off the track and tried to change directions and stopped to admire a leaf. It reminded me a little of herding kittens. The sight was delightful. It warmed my very heart. There were moms and dads together with their kids, everyone excited and happy; a mini-team in the middle of the larger community. It is called family and when people do it right there is no finer achievement in this whole wide world.
I was mesmerized while I sat in the bleachers and watched dads line up for registration and moms pulling t-shirts on over raincoats because it was a dark and stormy night. Some kids bailed at the last moment because of the large crowds and that was okay and they were gathered up in parent’s arms and comforted and reassured.
I’m a fan of beautiful scenery, of waterfalls and majestic trees and beautiful wild flowers, but the sight of a family is the most beautiful sight of all.