As Thanksgiving nears this year, I wanted to take an opportunity to give thanks for the extraordinary happenings in the running world today. Here are a few I wish to highlight:
Volunteers. I know it’s cold and races are almost always very early in the morning. I am extremely grateful for the volunteers who show up with smiles, positive energy and pass out water. They always end up getting water and sports drinks thrown on them; racers accidentally spit on them (I’ve seen this happen), yet they are there making sure we all make it to the finish line. I am most thankful for you.
Fancy shoes. Running shoes are found in every color, style and type. Suffering from major plantar fasciitis, I must choose my shoes wisely; otherwise I suffer tremendous pain. Thankfully, shoe manufacturers understand that feet come in different widths and arches, and some of us pronate a little too far. Luckily, companies produce shoes for all these types of feet issues. I would not be able to run a marathon if shoes were all the same; I am thankful for shoes produced for high arches and neutral feet (because mine are built this way.)
All-terrain clothes. Because of my love of traveling, I need running apparel for all different types of terrain and weather. From the deserts of Arizona to the tundra of Antarctica, I’ve used running clothes for every landscape. I am thankful for companies producing long-sleeved, dry-fit shirts, long running pants, arm warmers, head warmers and jackets with pockets for my gels.
Rise in alternative races. From mud races to Spartan games to running for chocolate, I’ve picked a number of new races to complete. This year I am thankful for completing my first mud run, in which I scaled walls, fell head first into mud pits, sunk into knee-deep mud pits and soaked my body in fresh water at the finish. I also ran for chocolate in which a famous chocolatier provided liquid chocolate to dip an array of treats and hot chocolate to wash it all down. Other events include the Spartan race running over fire pits and getting sprayed with paint.
Women’s running. As recently as three years ago, women shifted the demographic of the running world. Now a greater percentage of half marathon participants are women–with that distance averaging approximately 56 percent. I’ve found women’s running groups full of supportive, amazing women raising a family and balancing careers with training for the sport. It’s inspiring to see these busy women cross the finish line of countless races. I am thankful to be a woman and surround myself with such positivity from other female runners.