This is the time of year that I’m most proud of being a marathon running coach! I’m excited to see the Marathon Coalition runners accomplish a goal they’ve worked extremely had towards for nearly 5 months. It may have even been a lifelong dream that was cultivated when they sat on their parent’s shoulders along the historic route to Boston cheering on the runners. We’re just over a week away from seeing their dreams realized!
I get far too much credit for the role that I play in their journey. Yes, I am there for them when they need me and I host a weekly training for those 5 months. But I am not doing the work that’s required to weather the storm known as the Hills of Newton. I’m not the one battling the demons of doubt that need to be managed and fought at a time when they’re feeling their backs are against the wall and they’re uncertain whether they can crest the next hill. And I certainly don’t ask family, friends and colleagues to support their fundraising efforts.
My pride for them extends well beyond the running of the Boston Marathon. They have displayed an incredible commitment to improving the lives of others-to give opportunities to students that spend far too much time dreaming about them and not receiving them. I mentioned in a podcast at the Museum of Science before the 2011 Boston Marathon that I’ve seen Kenyans walking at Mile 15 but every charity runner I coach finishes. When you’re committed to a cause greater than yourself, particularly when it’s to improve the lives of others, there’s no doubt you’re going to dance on Boylston Street.
Some of my most special times have occurred at the Runner’s Expo when I encounter a runner I’ve coached. They have their Adidas bag with their number inside and they’re beaming with pride. It makes me so proud when they introduce me as ‘their’ coach to their family and friends. I’m really just a small cog in a wheel of compassion they likely don’t even see. Because they don’t spend much, if any, time contemplating how special they and their efforts are…they’re too busy committed to improving the lives of others. They are so selfless that they’ve even taught me to think less of myself and more of others…now that is a task far greater than 10 Boston Marathons.
So my role as a charity running coach is quite simple…fan the flame of compassion in a group of special people 5 months before the Boston Marathon..and stand back and watch it blaze as each one of them crosses the finish line on April 16, 2012!
Let’s Roll Baby!