The Brotherhood of Running

Today I am bringing you a guest post from John Mckinzie, a friend from my running group, Katy Fit. I ran behind John many times last summer in my very slow start to marathon training with the Red group. (Red = slow, btw.) John is, like me, a late-in-life athlete, who has now inspired his sister and his young son to run as well. He originally posted this on his Facebook page last September. 

So I get up this morning for what I plan on being an 8 mile run.

John at Run 4 the Children, photo
by Carter Anderson Fine Portraiture

6:00 at the cop shop on a Friday is pretty desolate. There is only one other runner, and he is coming in from a “God only knows how long” run. He is the typical Elite runner…skinny, not an ounce of fat, no hydration. He makes a pit stop as I start my run, but soon is breezing by me.

I’m pooped. I feel like I’ve been working out all week long… running, hill work, gym, Body Pump. But I need to get a long run in cuz Saturday it’s WPS!!!

After a mile I wanna quit. After two I realize how slow I’m going but forge ahead. At three miles, I’m pissed and I turn around. My 8 miler is now a six.

I’m walking off my frustration, when all of a sudden I hear in an English? accent. “Hey, you are not supposed to be walking!!” I thought, WTF!! leave me the F alone!!! But I said, “Yeah, I really should be running.” He said “Well start running and I’ll run you in!!”

Yeah right!! No way I was running it in, much less keeping up with him. But I did. Yeah, he slowed down, ALOT. I knew he did. We talked for the remainder. My “story”, his anguish over getting his 2:50 marathon pace again, other running topics, runs we had recently done.

What I didn’t realize is that I was speeding up…ALOT. We blazed across the park gate and onto the bball courts. We shook hands, I thanked him and asked his name. “Elias from South Africa…and the next time I see you, you had better not be walking!!” I smiled and we parted ways.

Then it hit me like a brick wall. Why was this elite runner slowing down to acknowledge me? I meant nothing to him, nor him to me. I suddenly realized that my thinking had gone all askew.

Running is a brotherhood. We all cross the same finish line, start at the same gun, and none of us is satisfied completely with our time. It’s so mental. I was not tired. I was not sore. But I had decided that day that I was. He made me remember that which I had forgotten. The motivation has to come from within.

Don’t wait for your Elias to come by. He might not. Great if he does, but we will probably never see each other again. He took time out of his training regimen to help a fellow runner. But that fellow runner must have his inner Elias with him at all times. Now I do. Whenever I slow down and I think it’s just too damn hard, I will think of Elias. A complete and total stranger. Helping me when I thought I couldn’t help myself. Anyone struggling, just find your inner Elias, he is there.

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