I really wasn’t prepared.
Five thousand people were prepared for this event, to some extent. Obviously their preparations had varied. Some were taking it all in stride, others were in pain. Some seemed shocked, others stoic. Some kept an even pace and others limped along.
But I was unprepared. I didn’t have to do anything. The half-marathon route included a section which went right down the cross street which is two houses from my front door. All I had to do was walk to the corner and clap. There were others there on the opposite corner. They cheered and shouted encouragement. But at first I only clapped.
Because I was unprepared. I had not expected the wave of emotion I felt when I saw the determined faces. When I thought about having run ten and a half miles. (I would cry harder if you told me that I had to run one mile…) I was unprepared and so I had to walk back home and get a tissue. After that, I clapped and wiped my eyes and clapped some more.
Some runners, ear buds in place, eyes fixed ahead, didn’t acknowledge any of us. Others smiles or waved. A few verbally thanked us for being out there.
Straining to give birth, struggling to learn, striving to achieve…we all need encouragement, and we can all be encouragers. We’re in the streets and on the sidelines all at once. Sometimes we’re called to coax or coach a friend over a rocky bit of ground. At another time we may be grieving with a comrade over their spouse whose race ended too soon. Or we may find ourselves holding the hand of a runner who is near the finish line, encouraging them to finish well…
For all this, we should be prepared. We are all needed.