One of the greatest benefits of coaching marathoners is witnessing their many transformations leading up to and beyond the marathon. I met Trish Reske at an information session for Team In Training several years ago. She never considered herself an athlete but has become one of the most dedicated runners I’ve ever coached.
Her determination is testament to the power of the human spirit and how just one person can make such a significance difference in the world. Trish is such an inspiration to me and others. She described our initial meeting in her blog:
“I went into Boston one night to attend a recruitment seminar for Team In Training, a charitable running group in which my brother was involved. I listened to the speaker and coach, Rick Muhr, and was so inspired by his words and his dedication to Team in Training and to runners like me. I went up to him and casually mentioned that I was signed up for the Ocean State Marathon in Providence, RI, just a week away, and that I thought that I’d run part of it, though I really didn’t believe I’d finish.
Rick locked eyes with me and said, ‘Trish, you’ll finish. You’ve done enough training. And when you do, I want you to email me and tell me all about it.’Then he wrote down his email address and handed it to me. I was floored.
I never had someone believe in me like that, let alone a real, live coach. I took Rick at his word, and set out to run my first marathon, bolstered by his words.
I am so indebted to Rick. He gave me the confidence I needed. I completed the marathon in 4:25, and even helped other women across the finish line. I was ecstatic. Little did I know that this would be the beginning of nearly a decade of marathon and distance running, most recently as a qualified charity runner for the Alzheimer’s Association. This year, I set my personal best (3:50:40) at the Breakers Marathon, which ironically is the “new” Ocean State Marathon, now run in Newport, RI.
I like to say that running a marathon isn’t for everybody. But it is for anybody. Anybody who wants to stretch, to reach the unreachable, to set a goal and achieve it. And to take that experience into the rest of their life. As my beloved coach Rick has said to hundreds of charity runners for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society:
‘When you cross the finish line of the marathon you may never have a clearer picture of what you are made of and capable of accomplishing. It is a rare and unique realization that will be more than worth the effort of the next 5 months. Your view of the world and, more importantly, of yourself will forever be changed!’
How right he is.”
I recently heard from Trish prior to the Mercedes Marathon in Birmingham, Alabama. I could not be more proud of her. Here is her description of the experience: