Running has transformed my life in so many ways, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It help me overcome the most difficult times in my life. Many times I would just start my run with no plan for how far or which way I would go, I guess just like Forest Gump. I would run until I cleared my thoughts, said a few prayers, and even cried. How long, how far, or which way didn’t matter. When I felt better I would turn around and come back.
After many years of solo running I decided to try group running. The 1st step was very difficult, how do I go about joining a group, how will they judge me, will I be fast enough, I’m uncomfortable meeting new people. I finally gathered the courage to take the step to introduce myself to the local running group “Bonita Road Runners”.
I am so glad I took that first step, the running group help me set goals, improve my speed, and provided encouragement and running family and friends with a common interest. Shortly after joining BRR I qualified for the New York City Marathon. Wow, I felt like a real runner! I still enjoy a long solo runs to clear my thoughts and find peace.
The day I saw Kenneth, I saw a little bit of myself. He Had just run the golf course and was getting a stretch. I could sense he really wanted to develop his running, improve his health, but may be a bit intimidated by running with a group, and just may need a little bit of encouragement. He had a big friendly smile so I new right away I could talk to him. I said, “you should run with us”. He shook his head and said no. We exchanged names, and I said “ok, Kenneth I’ll see you on the trail. I wasn’t going to give up on him, each time I saw him I invited him run with the group, and each time he said no. Each time we saw him he was becoming more and more comfortable with the group, everyone new his name and he new some of us.
Then one day Kenneth got the courage and took that 1st step, and finally said “can I run with you guys? That was a great day! Since that time Kenneth has many running accomplishments and has become “lean and mean” after losing several pounds and improving his conditioning. It has been so cool to see Kenneth embrace running, grow, learn, and become part of the running community, and always with a friendly smile. After several years, I am happy to say, Kenneth is still running strong. Go Kenneth