By Randy Pierce
Quinn and I hoisted the harness to run the July 3 “Finish at the 50” road race. I always appreciate and am in awe at Quinn’s eager approach to guiding me for a race. With more than 6,500 runners joining us this, was going to be our most crowd-challenged race yet and it showed. Our times were slower in large part due to congested narrow points and the sheer volume of people filling the route.
While there was a 10K and 5K option, I had chosen the shorter and felt a little badly I was doing “just the 5K.” In fact, I heard that sentiment a number of times from folks both in advance of the race and after the fact. I felt compelled to offer an almost begrudging apology–as if choosing to spend the latter part of a hot July day running multiple miles was a bad thing?! I’ve thought a lot about this mysterious misplaced lack of appreciation for an accomplishment. Choosing to do something positive is always celebration worthy. Still, it is all too easy to downplay accomplishment and fail to appreciate the many victories along the way.
For the first time in a race we had collisions–not once but twice. They were not serious, though they definitely made it easy to disparage the work. Fortunately, I had the tail-wagging wonder to remind me with his doggish enthusiasm that we were choosing to put ourselves in the midst of positive adventures. It was a pretty encouraging experience, as is often the case with races, to have people on the sideline giving encouragement and cheers.
This race finished at a place near and dear to me as we ran the final 50 yards on the field turf at Gillette Stadium, home of New England Patriots. The organizers of the race understood the need to appreciate all accomplishments. A camera zoomed in on each runner and broadcast them to the “jumbotron” while the stadium speakers called out their names. Then we ran through the giant inflated helmet tunnel into a tunnel of people and across the line.
Despite all this fantastic support which is the hallmark of most races, still there was an easy slip into downplaying the experience. So my thought on this Independence Day celebration is that it’s not just a 5k– it’s a choice made to do something
and whatever that something may be, a part of that choice should be the willingness to congratulate yourself for making a positive choice. A part should also be to appreciate all the people choosing to celebrate such an experience with you, whether it’s the many incredible folks doing the work to make the race happen or the friends who join you along the way.
That said, my very dear thanks go to Ed Bryant for his first run with Quinn and me as well as to Sarah, Jennifer, Robert, and Tracy for running and encouraging us to run. Lastly, my biggest and best thanks to Quinn for so eagerly making these adventures possible and then reminding me with his attitude the wisdom of loving each moment!