It was a weekend of family to-dos. One of which included a fun run: one mile up historic Harrison Boulevard by waves of elementary school children, the occasional parent or pet thrown in for moral support.
We planted our feet in a grassy spot, mid-way, on what we soon found to be the boys’ side; then we waited for familiar faces. Until that time, I stood content to cheer on any fellow who ran before me:
The fellow pushing his friend . . .
The fellow without legs . . .
The fellow who obviously had runners as parents . . .
The fellow who most certainly did not . . .
All sorts and varieties ran, walked, rolled, or limped past. They were strong and brave and handsome, every last one of them.
For our part, we clapped and cheered and carried on. Well done, men! Good job! Look—you can see the finish line!
It may have been the smallest trace of a smile, it may have been a second wind (even if he yelled, “There are a thousand miles to go!” as he ran past), but that odd group of strangers, cheering on the sidelines, managed to make a difference.
Sure, an attitude sneaked in every now and again, but for the most part, they seemed grateful for a little push to carry on. One small fellow even ran a bit closer, looked me in the eye, and said, “Thank you,” as he jogged past.
And then my heart melted.
See? A little encouragement goes a long way. Something to keep in mind as we continue the race we call our own . . .