I spent most of last weekend volunteering with the Lansing Marathon. I realized, while there, how many different aspects of the race inspired me. First there was Dr. Virginia Beard. A week before our marathon she was at the Boston Marathon but due to the tragic events was unable to finish the last half mile of that race. It was decided that Dr. Beard would start our Lansing Marathon at the last half mile and finish what she was unable to do in Boston. She would then receive her metal that she didn’t get in Boston and lead our marathon in a moment of silence. If that wasn’t inspiring enough, she then went on to run a half marathon. When I saw all the runners standing in two rows waiting for Dr. Beard to pass by, I felt inspired.
When, in the wee morning hours inside the Lansing Center way before anyone else had arrived, I passed a police officer and his bomb trained German Shepherd inspecting the trash cans thoroughly, I felt sad, but I also felt inspired to help make this world a safer, calmer place. When I saw thousands of people in the cold, early Sunday morning lining up to run a very long race, I felt inspired.
Then there was the 15 year old that ran without any training. There was the multitude of volunteers handing out water, food, metals and blankets; not to mention “hellos”, “thank yous” and “you can do its! There was the mom standing eagerly at the very edge of the finish line who wanted to be the one to give her daughter her metal. I spent the next hour or so instructing the volunteers that when this woman’s daughter came through to let her give the runner her metal. We eyed every runner coming towards us to see if she matched this woman’s number. It was near the end of the race and it was announced that the last runner had crossed the 24 mile mark. Maybe that was her? However, a few minutes later a runner wearing all black turned the corner and headed our way. I saw the younger girl with this woman light up. “That’s her”, she yelled. Together the three of us moved closer to the finish line. Other volunteers realized this was the one we’d been waiting for and motioned for the mom to move closer. I cried as all three hugged at the finish line. How exciting that we could do this for them. That was inspiring. Twelve hours into my volunteering experience for that final day, I stood shoulder to shoulder with dozens of volunteers and family members as the last runner, after 7 long hours of running, finally crossed the finish line. She did it! And THAT, was inspiring.
Inspiration is a very personal thing. Something that moves to inspire me may not inspire you. I think that’s okay, as long as something inspires you. Yesterday I bought a new pair of running shoes.
With this project I’ve walked over 300 miles, but I’ve run none. Today I tried to use that momentum from the race to try a run. I had a section of road that would be a down and back type walk. Sometimes I use my bike for these areas. I walk my bike one way then ride back. This time I decided to run back. It was almost two miles and even though it wasn’t pretty, I did it. At one point I passed a woman working outside her house. She nodded as I came to a stop. She asked if I’d started running at Filley St. (about a mile away). I said I had. She said she thought that was a long way. I told her briefly about my project and that I decided to run back from this last walk, but that I wasn’t doing so well since I was breathing hard and needing to take a break. She said she thought I was doing great to her.
I think it’s good to really think about the things that inspire you. I also think it’s good to try to be inspiring. But the best part is when a good friend or even a stranger lets you know that they think you are inspiring too.
Inspiration Located at the Lansing City Market
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