By: Eugenia Damron
Three years ago all I wanted was to finish and not be last when I signed up for a 5 k. I did, and I wasn’t; but have been plenty of times since then. You’ve passed me, you’ve waited on me, but most of all, you’ve cheered me on.
At every race there is someone who smiles when they see me register, and someone else who says good luck. Someone pats my back when they pass me, and someone else slaps my hand when they are on the return. Many of you tell me good job or keep it up. I seldom have the breath or grace to tell you how much you mean to me.
If I run the path at Ritter, you are there, always encouraging me. When I run the sidewalks at Marshall you scream across the road. When I plod the hill at the museum, or dare a long run home, you pull up in your car and say I saw you leave the park. No matter where I am, or how slowly I traverse, you are there with encouragement.
I’ve heard from winners that they were once last, and I’ve heard from the elite that every journey begins with just one step. My friends have waited on me, ran back to get me, and zig- zagged through the park to stay even; and all I have to offer is, “ I’m trying”.
Let me take this space to tell you THANK YOU. Thank you for every time you smile and encourage me. Thank you for every extra step you take to make running fun for me. Thank you for believing I could finish, and thank you for not being ugly or aggravated.
Three years ago I could not run a city block, in January I ran a half-marathon. Last week I completed the Mud on the Mountain in Pennsylvania. I’m slow, but I’m determined. Mostly, I’m just thankful. Thankful for people who take the time to make me feel like I belong, and that I can do this.