Bonnie VanDeraa (HF14695)
Not all races end up having the same effect on you. Not all races have the same meaning. Not all races are as special as others. But some do. Route 66 half marathon 2021 will always be special to me. Not only because it was the first half I’d completely walked in a real race in a rather long time, but also because of some really really awesome friends I had walking by my side in this half.
I have to use my walker in order to walk this distance (unless I’m rollin’). I tend to get literally hundreds of well wishes of encouragement in one form or another. But there’s this one that will stick in my head forever. It was during mile 11. I don’t remember his name but just that he was a retired police officer. He came and put his arm around my shoulders while we walked. He said that he was truly inspired and encouraged by me, to keep going and he said so much more that is forever etched in my memory even though I cannot pen it to words. My thoughts during this was that I was so glad I was wearing sunglasses. He continued on. His eyes held that glisten to them when tears are near. It was then that I stopped in the middle of the road and gave this guy a very big hug….the biggest hug I’ve given in a really long time. He said “I love you.” I repeated it back. I continued to fight back the tears. Afterwards, he said he would wait for me at the finish line. Then, he said he needed to go off and “harass” more runners. (As in be an encouragement and goofball)
Our little group of 4 continued to walk along one step at a time. I tried to fight. I tried to keep them from falling, but alas I failed. I pulled to the side and went to Karen’s arms and sobbed.
Sometimes you need to hear just the right words to keep going. Sometimes knowing you have friends and family behind you and hearing those words is exactly what you need. Sometimes walking the perfect race, knowing you have the best friends and family behind you, and hearing those words, and walking a race 😉 is exactly the perfect medicine one needs to continue on.
And to you, unknown but dearly loved soul, I’ll see out there on the course.
Photo and Post Credit Bonnie VanDeraa