The Magic Running Bond
On Saturday, I was reminded of yet another reason that running is amazing … dare I even say magical. Throughout our lives, we spend a lot of time trying to connect with others, to build relationships and to fit into our surroundings – from those days in high school yearning to hang with the “cool crowd” to the social dynamics of moving to a new neighborhood or finding your stride in the workplace or on the playground with your kids. We try to connect with others, all while not wanting to be judged.
But when it comes to running, all of that changes. You immediately have a connection with other runners – no matter your differences. The time it takes to build connections and relationships with neighbors, coworkers and others simply takes a single long run to accomplish with runners.
This thought occurred to me after my long(ish) run on Saturday. I joined an old friend and a new friend for a 10-mile run in Atlanta. One of the coolest things about sharing this blog with you is when I get to meet readers in person. An awesome runner who reads my blog recently moved back to Atlanta and reached out about running together. I invited her to join my friend and me on Saturday morning, and it was run at first sight. As we were having coffee together after the run (8:35 average pace with the last mile at 7:41 uphill), it dawned on me that running bridges all gaps.
Here we were: ages 26, 30 and 39. One of us engaged, one married with no kids, one married for 16+ years with 2 kids. Two of us who work full-time, one of us who manages her household full-time. Despite our different stages in life or what Monday through Friday looks like for each of us, when Saturday rolls around and it’s time to run, we are the same. Our differences blur together and we are a single, strong unit. We understand each other without having to say anything. We are bonded because we have a shared understanding – the struggle of a crappy weekday run, the desire to hit a stretch goal at our next race, the fear of trying to keep up on the hilliest part of the route, the wondering if what we ate that morning will stay put until we finish, the nagging pain in your leg. Two old friends ran and chatted with a new friend about everything – from the kind of underwear we do (or don’t) wear while running to stomach issues, bowel movements, periods, and the like. This was our first time meeting. Our first time running together. And the unspoken running bond worked its magic.
While running on Saturday, we ran into our friend who is a 65-year-old grandfather on the trail. He is in a completely different stage of his life, and yet the magical running bond is between us too. We are the same.
Running bridges all gaps. You are not defined by age, by time, by injury, by race, by pace. You are a runner, and therefore a friend. What else do you know that is as powerful as that?