Steve Wagner, Published October 28 2012
Wagner: Support groups pay dividends after long running yearBemidji, Minn.
With a full training and racing season in the rearview mirror, a group of runners gathered at a south Fargo establishment to mingle over food and beverages, share stories from our year of running and talk about the ups and downs along the way.
It was the brainchild of one runner, who dubbed it “Running Buddy Night,” a few years ago, and I wasn’t about to miss it. The first one, in 2010, was my first introduction to many in the group, and I’d already developed a sort of kinship with them.
She’s since developed a logo and definition for the group, and printed a T-shirt emblazoned with both.
Often, we log miles and miles, and deal with the rollercoaster of training, injuries and life, alone.
But meeting this group, or seeing one of their faces at a race, reminds me that we’re not really ever alone. We pull for each other, hope for the best, and share in our successes and failures together.
It makes so many of those miles easier.
In the thick of training for races, many of them gather on Saturday mornings and log long, slow distances. While living a few hours away doesn’t afford me the opportunity for those runs anymore, I walk away from running buddy meetings buoyed by the optimism, friendliness and accomplishments of my friends.
Such was the case Saturday.
And while I may not see them again for months, I know we’ll support each other through the long winter training months ahead. It may be cold, windy, storming or dark, but I know that heading out in those desperate times will be much sweeter when I can share them with my running buddies.
Their efforts and accomplishments serve as inspiration for each time I want to take a day off or slack off in training. Running buddies make those around them better – especially through common experiences and goals.
To my running buddies, I owe a big thank you.
And until the next race we meet up at, or even next year’s season-ending event, enjoy the journey.
Bemidji (Minn.) Pioneer Editor Steve Wagner writes a running blog, which can be found online at runningspud.areavoices.com. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.