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What possesses someone who does not race, who may not even run, to get up at silly hours of the morning to stand outside, in the dark, sometimes in extreme heat but more often in wicked cold, for hour after boring hour, and offer assistance to people who are so involved in what they’re doing that they may not even notice you, let alone offer thanks, is beyond the limits of my small imagination. But nevertheless, at each race I enter, there you are, handing out cups of water, offering up Oreos, encouraging and supporting and cheering. I worship you. I wish I could offer you my first-born child. Or maybe bake you cookies. But I have no children and I can’t bake.
The race director is responsible for explaining your duties, but race directing is about as easy as wrangling cockroaches. So I wanted to take some time first to thank you for your service and then to pass on some comments from runners about how you can be great race volunteers, have fun, and hope to help you understand that runners aren’t as obnoxious as they may seem when they’re out there on the course.
Each issue, we select an “Editor’s Choice”—an entire article we share with you online.Click here to read the entire article…
Stephen F. Balsamo’s Marathon Journey, An Achilles Story is not so much a tale just for runners but for those who embrace and are uplifted by tales of courage and the overcoming of obstacles physical and emotional.
By intertwining characters from three generations and two continents, he draws the reader into the experience of Adamu, one of the “Lost Boys of Sudan.”
Adamu’s tale begins in an idyllic childhood in his native land, and ends, through a series of events, from the brutal to the sublime, on the streets of New York City, almost improbably (given the initial setting of the tale), at the finish line of the New York City marathon. Balsamo incorporates real-life events and people with his own characters.
The story line gathers momentum as it builds to its’ climax. It reveals Balsamo’s affection for, and respect of, competitors in life, as well as on the competitive roads of The Big Apple in this all-too brief tale.
Balsamo’s descriptions of the NYC Marathon as viewed through the eyes of his characters will doubtlessly stir memories in readers who have participated in that now-world famous event.
During his journey from Africa to America, Adamu is exposed to the worst and best that humanity offers and must find, within himself, the essence of a marathoner: endurance, the internal fiber to overcome tragedy, the humility to accept charity, and ultimately, the courage to step outside what one sees as their known world.
The Afterword to Marathon Journey, An Achilles Story is written by Dick Traum, who is the first person to complete a marathon with a prosthetic leg and founder of Achilles International, a running club which seeks to enable people with all types of disabilities to participate in events such as marathons to promote personal achievement and to enhance self-esteem. Mr. Traum was an inspiration to Canadian hero, Terry Fox to run his “Marathon of Hope.”
Thanks to our friends at Keepsake Quilts for sharing this amazing and inspiring story with us. Aurora De Lucia was your typical college student. One day she woke up, went to class – not realizing that on that day her life would be changed forever. One minute Aurora is sitting in class, the next she is on the ground surrounded by paramedics. Aurora was taken to the hospital where she was given various tests to help find a diagnosis…
(Janet and her team at Keepsake have offered a special coupon for M&B readers – complimentary shipping through the month of April.) Read the rest of Aurora’s story.
Continue reading » 52 Half Marathons in a Year – After Heart Surgery
Flatrock – This course has been deceiving trail runners for almost 20 years. After all, it’s KANSAS. KANSAS is flat. How bad can it be? Go ahead, underestimate this trail – then go home and cry yourself to sleep. Nineteen Septembers in a row, runners have come to the Elk City Hiking Trail to tackle the FlatRock 50K trail ultra. This is the oldest ultra in the state, and it is pretty easy to make the argument that it is the BEST. It is as brutal as it is beautiful, as rugged as it is relaxing, as treacherous as it is tantalizing. An incredible, highly technical trail full of short steep climbs, roots and rocks that seemingly TRY to trip you, and buzzards circling overhead, FlatRock is hard – and strangely addictive. The “Hall of Pain” consists of runners who have run it 10 or more times in a row. So, what would make more sense than running this 50K? Why not run it TWICE? Thus, the FlatRock 101K was born.
Last April, after weeks of rain, about 40 brave souls set out to crack the rock. One hundred and one kilometers in 24 hours should be a walk in the park (or hike in the woods) in Kansas right? The addition of sticky, ankle deep mud, water crossings, and incessant rain turned the course into Satan’s Slip n’ Slide. Trail conditions were more horrendous than normal. The runners simultaneously loved and loathed it. The final finisher came across minutes before the cutoff – tired, covered in mud, but not broken. The raucous Epic Ultras finish line brought a welcomed end to runner’s suffering and, as always, made each feel like a champion.
If you think you are some kind of trail ultrarunner badass, you need to bring all you got to the 2nd annual FlatRock 101K on April 26th 2014 and put your theory to the test. If you want to see what you are really made of and push yourself to your absolute physical ultrarunning limits, you need to be there. If you are ready to become a true Midwest trail ultarunner, get registered now. FlatRock might just chew you up, spit you out, step on your face, and THEN send you home crying to your mama. IF you are too scared, that is understandable. I heard there are a few good half marathons that day…maybe you should check into those.
Click here to get registered now.
Rachael Bazzett, guest blogger
Oh, the weather outside is frightful. Cold temperatures make it so much more challenging to get out of bed in the morning, let alone think about pulling on your running tights and heading outside. It is easy to talk yourself into an extra rest day, but there are plenty of good reasons to hit the trail or the road and log some miles. Many of them include training benefits like having a short off-season and maintaining running shape, but here are a few more reasons.
Nostalgia. If you grew up anywhere with snow, it is likely that you spent many cold winter days bundled up and building snowmen, sledding, and rolling around in the cold white stuff. Maybe you even got a day off from school every now and then. Whenever I get out to run in the fresh snow, I go back to feeling like a little kid. I enjoy my tracks on the ground and the snow that falls off the branches if you run by too closely. Mostly I enjoy how I feel once I have returned home. Stepping into a warm house, taking a shower, and eating some hot soup or oatmeal feels like the coziest thing ever imagined, and I remember warming up by the fire after long days out playing. As an adult, you probably don’t go out and play hard in the snow. I have not found a better way to recreate that feeling than with a long run in the winter.
Continue reading » Some Good Reasons to Run Today