If you were to ask a runner what their favorite race they ever watched was, you would get answers like Steve Jones’ 10,000m with the odds stacked against him, Heather Dorniden’s amazing recovery during the 2008 Big 10s, or Meb Keflezighi’s historic Boston Marathon win. You would hear about inspirational, pure-guts races where one name receives eternal glory. You probably won’t hear about Heather Dorniden’s teammate who got second place; she won the race by herself, right? Running is more of a team sport than most would think and it’s the team that makes the runner(s) great.
Now that I am out of college, I can see the impact and importance of having those likeminded teammates that would meet in the same place every day at 4:15pm. Sure, there are records at the college that only say one name, but I would argue that behind each name would be upwards of 20 names all holding their own important role for the person that holds the record. Teammates impact our individual accomplishments more than we know. When I go out on a run after work, it’s by myself. I have to find the motivation, I have to find the time, and I have to stay true to the sport. That might be one of the hardest things to do when you don’t have the support of your teammates.
What I do find joy in knowing, is that my teammates instilled in me, the drive that makes me lace my shoes, start my watch, and hit the road. When I think about Team Long Run and what we are doing for these kids, it makes me so happy. To think that we can have a team-like impact on a child’s life, and knowing what it will do to them in the future, is a feeling that can’t be measured. When I look back on my time with my team, the feeling I get is spread across everything I do, not just when running.
So the next time you watch your favorite race, think about all the people that went into the amazing, individual, accomplishment you are watching. By the way, Heather Dorniden’s teammate was Jamie Dittmar, and in that race, she ran the school’s 5th fastest 600m time, ever.
Some more good races