The Kindness of Strangers

I have the coolest running story to share with you!

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My friend Crystal is the one in the middle with the cute pink shorts (Lululemon).  When I first read about this experience on her Facebook page I was amazed and even got a little choked up. One of her friends commented that is was a real life “Good Samaritan” running story.  First, let me give you a little background information.

We’ve all had that race.  You know the one that leaves you slightly traumatized for weeks after, like you’re battling a little PTRSD (Post Traumatic Running Stress Disorder), and the pain is only made  more heartbreaking when you’ve trained for a personal record or a Boston qualifying time.  And here’s the gut wrenching truth all runners know, the one thing we can’t control on race day is the weather.

My friend Crystal had trained harder than ever to get a  Boston qualifying time at the Ogden, Utah marathon this past May.  Ogden was one of my sub 3 backup plans if Boston didn’t go my way, but at the last minute I heard about the  Mt. Charleston Revel Marathon in Las Vegas and ended up running that instead.  Unfortunately, the spring weather in Northern Utah is almost as notorious and mercurial as it can be in Boston; to say it rained is a gross understatement. Participants described the monsoon like weather as atrocious with rain piercing my skin and I guess it could have been worse, there wasn’t any lightning this year or the wind was brutal, with up to 40 MPH gusts.

Here’s how my friend described the day:

“This was my 2nd and last attempt at the Ogden marathon.  Less than half of the participants finished.  A few of my friends dropped out due to hypothermia and I should have done the same. The whole time I really couldn’t believe people were running in 40 mph winds with freezing rain and hail.  My hands stopped working at mile 6, so fueling for the race was out since I couldn’t even open the gels.  My face was so numb I felt like I’d been to the dentist. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, my hips started to cramp.  I kept running but I had to slow down. By mile 22 the weather actually cleared up a little but by then my legs, from my calves to my hips, were completely cramped. I walked and ran the last 3 miles and finished.  I was starving, shivering, and before I knew it crying.  My husband took this picture about 10 seconds before I finished and my face is pretty accurate.”

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My heart just broke for my friend because I know that pain.  I lived it during the 2015 Boston Marathon and it also left me in tears.

Here is where the story gets really good.  A few weeks later Crystal’s Ogden Marathon race bib surprisingly arrived in the mail, it had blown off somewhere along the course.  Here is what the accompanying note said:

Dear Crystal,

I hope this race bib finds you.  I was cheering the Ogden Marathon runners from the Pineview Dam when I saw your bib fall off.  I know it is tattered but thought it would serve as a reminder of running the Ogden Marathon with the worst storm ever.  The wind and rain on the course were awful.  I think you guys were awesome to push on and finish the race.  Nice job!

-Darren

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I am so moved by this gesture.  I know the sacrifices it takes to prepare for race day and I know the disappointment when the race doesn’t go the way you train for, and hope for, and pray for. Race bibs are special, they are tangible evidence of grit, determination, and courage.  The more torn, the more tattered, the more they were earned.  I’m so glad that Crystal was reunited with a race bib that proves she’s made up of all those qualities. The marathon is a humbling sport, but so is the kindness of strangers.  It’s a small reminder that in this imperfect and sometimes dark world, there are still people spreading goodness and light, and that is a very big thing.  Happy running friends!

 

2 thoughts on “The Kindness of Strangers

  1. Katie Guisinger says:

    Thank you so much for reading this Eva! I really loved this story. Running is rarely just about running and this story proves it. -Katie

  2. Simplyeva2 says:

    Sitting here at my desk, in tears. I really needed a story today that shows the kindness of strangers.

    Thank you,

    Eva

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