There is a spot for everyone by Julia French
I saw a lot of people running by me today. They ran at a fast pace, tightly clumped together. All were focused on their run and brightly dressed in the newest running clothes and shoes. I have to admit, they looked very sharp and completely prepared for the distance ahead.
I was on the side lines, holding onto the rope as they passed by. I was looking for a spot in the midst of the dense runners to jump in and start my own run.
“Where do I fit into this bunch of fine looking runners?”
They were flashing by at speeds I knew I had never maintained a day in my life. I do run you see, but nothing like these guys. In my gut I desired to achieve what I saw in them. I felt inspired just by watching them. I watched with the hopes of spotting an empty spot somewhere in the midst with my name on it, a place I could call my own.
I walked along the side lines, through bustling crowds of stationary people as the runners streamed by in thick groups, heavy with the labor of the run. Where does the steam that energizes their engines come from? It must be steam that energizes them because steam moves in the air and runners run with the wind. It just seems logical to me that way.
Runners seem so free and strong; so unattached to anything else other than the act of running. Is that really all they do is run? From time to time I see them enter a public restroom, or chat among themselves or maybe pour water on their heads. I only see them do the most basic of activities while they run through the street, on the path that is already marked out for them by ropes and cones.
Their faces are so serious, sweaty hair sticks to the sides of their necks, arms pump at their sides rhythmically, never missing a beat. They exude strength with every reach of their leg. I would like to have said, ‘they exude strength with every pounding step’ but if you have ever really watched an experienced runner you know how really quiet they are. The only pounding that goes on is perhaps within them. The heart pounds, the blood rushes, they move like the wind. Quiet.
There, at the end of the pack of serious runners, a few stragglers bob along. I see my chance to enter in. Under the rope I go. I have no number on my shirt. I am not an official runner of the race. I smile to myself as I bob down the now empty street at my own pace. I enjoy running even if I am alone. No one is watching me. Everyone’s attention is on the finish line. I am free to move along with the breeze that I feel. It is not such a rush as what the others feel but it’s better to be a bobber than stationary. Bobbers make it to the end too, ya know. Just nobody sees it, is all. Everybody has got to start somewhere. If you never start you for sure won’t finish.