Race #23 – Running to Compete

Sharing joy… the best run crew

Hard things are wonderful, beautiful, and give meaning to life.

Shalane Flanagan

Race #23 – the Northeastern 5k, 8th and final race of the YRRC Winter Race Series

The Cause – The York Road Runners Club, York, PA

I’ve been focused on this idea of a “running community” throughout the winter by doing the YRRC Winter Race Series. Run clubs and communities nurture us in so many ways–by organizing and providing runs, encouraging social connections between runners, educating and training runners, and by providing competition.

Competition brings out our best. It sparks our ambition and drive. Our competitive spirit encourages new challenges, new PRs and new goals. When we rise to a new challenge, we grow–sometime beyond what we thought was possible.

And that was the case for me this winter. Taking part in 7 of the 8 YRRC Winter Races, I was surprised and thrilled to place in my age group’s top 5 and 10 consistently. I never expected to earn an age group award. Through the past several races, I climbed to 5th place, then 4th, and last race I locked in 3rd place overall. By placing 4th in the final race today, I held onto the overall 3rd place age group award for the entire series.

I share this award with, and give credit to, my “run crew.” Knowing we’d see each other and share fun times helped us through cold, rainy, windy, and extremely challenging hilly races. If it wasn’t for Joanne, Cathy and Ali… carpooling to races together, sharing friendship, support and encouragement, none of us would have stayed committed to the series on our own.

Proof of this came today, following our 5k, at the awards ceremony. The awards were all being read, accepted and awarded in an orderly fashion. But when my name was called, my friends let out screams and cheers–so loudly that I actually jumped! They were truly happy for me. I am blessed.

I am super excited to be reaching the halfway point of my 50 races for 50 causes this month, six months from my start date, “on schedule.” And I’m excited and anticipating so many great spring races for great causes. Stay tuned!

With this series complete, we are all ready to tackle our upcoming spring races with our competetive spirits alive and well. Friends make hard things easier indeed.

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