This weekend I will put on the old running shorts, on an old man and run the Polkafest 5K. As an ex-marathon runner, a 5k should be easy. But age does take a toll on the body. The upside of age, is that I usually win, for no one else in my age group shows up.
Running for me is almost a spiritual experience. The race takes on a life of its own so for a time I can just enjoy the moments, and the other runners, some of whom have been a great real inspiration to me.
I was running in Dallas and at about mile 9, I noticed three guys passing me. One was holding hands with the man in the middle and the other on the other side talking to the man in the middle. As they passed I noticed that the guy in the middle was blind, and he was running faster than I was. I picked up the pace but could not catch him. I later learned that the blind man was named Harry. He had written a book about his life and how he dealt with his blindness.
In later races when I felt like quitting, I thought about Harry. He gave me the incentive not to quit. I never met the other man who inspired me, but I did get the story. The guy has lost his legs in Vietnam, but decided to scoot the New York marathon with his arms, and what were left of his legs.
Someone discovered him during the race, knowing is would take days to finish the race. He was put up during the night and then back on the course during the day. A week later as he entered Central Park, the finish line was set up again and he got quite an ovation when crossing the finish. I wish I had been there.
Perhaps we should all look back and remember those who gave us the examples of courage and the incentive not to quit when the times get tough. Come to think of it, we could thank them, if they are still alive.