Running Companions

Sometimes it’s the smallest, almost imperceptible things that remind you of how lucky you’ve been. That life lesson was proven true again on a recent run. The run came on a day following a tough workout, a run on which I was struggling to keep up with my two running companions. At about two miles into the run we hit a nasty little hill, one that I don’t like even on the best of days. Part way up the hill, almost simultaneously, both of my companions realized I was struggling and each, without a word being spoken, eased back on their pace just a little to match mine.

It wasn’t a big thing, yet it made me smile to myself. At the end of the run I thanked them for going easy on me. Later that evening, when I recalled what had happened, it got me thinking back over my almost 30 years of running and how many different running companions I’ve had. Companions is certainly the right word for them. Even though we were often competitors in races, it was always different on runs. Runs were for companionship, for sharing the experience of the run, sometimes even confiding important details of our lives.

How I’ve been fortunate enough to avoid those runners who view so many of their runs as a race I’m not sure. Possibly I was a quick learner and after one run that turned into a race I avoided that runner on future runs. The companions I’ve spent most of my running carreer with have been like the two the other day, tuned into each others running and adjusting the day accordingly. Their subtle move going up the hill was a nice reminder of how fortunate I’ve been.

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