A very important event took place recently in Grand Forks. Many of my friends have been talking about it for months. We’ve planned for it. We’ve prepared for it. We participated in it. Last night we celebrated it. What am I talking about? Grand Forks Marathon weekend, of course!
Races always bring runners together, but I felt this year’s Grand Forks Marathon weekend was really special! I’ve met so many new friends this summer training for this year’s races and they’re all amazing, both as people and as runners. In addition to new friends, I’ve also had the opportunity to reconnect with many older friends as we spent time together running around Grand Forks. This past weekend was a time for all runners in our community to gather and cheer one another along as we set out to be the best we can be. The feeling of camaraderie within my expanded circle of friends was extremely powerful this year!
People who don’t understand running sometimes say that the medals we receive are merely “participation awards,” but I believe nothing could be further from the truth! I’m acutely aware of the hours of training runners put into preparing for a race. I know how badly people want to set their own PR (personal record) and how the effort they put forth on race day requires them to push harder and dig deeper than they ever have before. Runners cross the finish line empty, leaving their heart and soul on the race course. The medal we receive serves as a reminder that with dedication and hard work, there’s nothing we can’t achieve.
On Tuesday evening we gathered to tell stories about both our individual triumphs and our shortcomings from the past weekend. We congratulated those who set new PRs and offered words of encouragement to those that came up short. I realized that not one of us set out on our race alone, but that everyone of us had a mountain of support from this great group of people. I also realized that our running community is strong in Grand Forks and that these people, from all walks of life, are the best friends a person could ever ask for!