This weekend I will participate in my third full marathon. I’m not embarrassed about the fact that I am a pretty slow runner. (OK, like, really slow.) Although time has never been my focus, I did used to worry about that dreaded scenario where I finish a race dead last.
Last night, there was a kids’ fun run that is part of the marathon’s pre-race festival. Our 6-year old daughter, who has been running laps around the block with me this summer, asked to enter the 1/2-mile distance. The event was held at a baseball stadium and was two laps around the perimeter of the fence.
The race started and she took off, but by the first turn, she was lagging behind. By the time she made her way around the outfield and was coming down the third base line towards home, the front of the pack (on their second and final lap) was on her heels, and quickly blew past her.
I’m watching from the stands and see the volunteers with the kids’ medals step out to start placing the awards around the kids’ necks as they finish. They hadn’t noticed that one straggler from lap one was mixed into the pack of top finishers. I’m thinking to myself that my daughter is probably going to claim her prize and exit with the rest. As she realized what was happening though, she started turning back and forth trying to decide what to do. She asked a duck mascot on the field what to do. We see the duck bend down answer her…..
Then she takes OFF! She powers through the line of award givers and takes to the field completely alone for her final lap. There were volunteers placed along the fence who cheered her on the entire way. My eyes welled up as I watched her run her little heart out, with all of the workers and spectators watching her. And she was rewarded with cheers and high fives as she rounded home and was presented with her medal. She finished dead last. She wasn’t embarrassed or ashamed. She was PROUD.
As her mom and as I runner, it was amazing to watch. It took something special for her to get back out there and finish strong.
May all of the participants in this weekend’s marathon, half marathon and 5k have the same courage, and also be rewarded with the pride that comes from putting yourself out there and finishing!
Watch her victorious finish for yourself….