Runners in all shapes and sizes – and they show up!

They may not be fast, but they show up to the race!

There are two major running events in Albuquerque each year: Run for the Zoo and Duke City Marathon.  Every spring, the first Sunday in May is the Run for the Zoo, what is known as the largest running event in Albuquerque, has 5K and 10K events and every fall, in mid-October, the Duke City Marathon includes the marathon, half marathon and 5K events. There are many other runs in Albuquerque, but these are the two “big ones” that most people know about, even the “non-runners.”

Since my first 5K in October 2004, if I am in town and not injured (or recovering from an injury), I have registered and participated in these events.

Yesterday I ran my seventh half marathon (second with Duke City Marathon). Originally I signed up for the marathon, but time constraints on my training and having already checked off two marathons from my “life list,” I was okay with changing races on Saturday at the packet pick-up.

But this is a different race report: this is about my observations and thrill about the people who are there with numbers pinned to their shirts.

It thrills me to see people of all ages participating in these events. In my first 5K in 2004 an 84 year-old woman beat me. She is not racing anymore, but was still listed in the results a couple of years ago with pretty much the same time as when she beat me. She is my inspiration for when I am 80-years-old. This year, a 13-year-old won the women’s 5K followed 17  seconds later by a 60-year-old.

But it isn’t the people who come in first place that impress me. Really, it isn’t. I am a middle of the pack person, and I am content there. I aim to finish, and sometimes like to finish better than I did last time, but whatever… What impress me are the people who have the guts to register, pick up their packet and t-shirt, and still wake up early in the morning on race day and actually show up at the starting line.

There are butterflies in the stomach and mind-games that something will happen, but they are there at the starting line, while so many other people are still in bed. Some of these people are overweight, some are obese. Some a former obese people excited with their “new” bodies. They are slow runners, or they aren’t sure how they will do and they start in the back. But they will never “win” or be in the top 3 in their category. Heck, many won’t even make it back in-time for the awards ceremony. But they are there and they are participating. They signed up and they showed up. They are runners, and they are finishers.

The winners don’t impress me as much as these people impress me! I want to stop and hug them and congratulate them and tell them that I am so proud of them! But, I’m afraid of being arrested. I stink too.

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