Why Did You Start Running?
This week, I had the honor of attending a trail dedication to the late Geoff Hollister. Geoff was one of the Nike's first employees and helped to grow Nike from a start-up named Blue Ribbon Sports to the number-one sports apparel company in the world.
It was the official opening of a beautiful trail that runs through the forest across from theNike campus in Beaverton, Oregon. The loop is 2,400 meters long and immaculatelymaintained. There were nearly 1,000 people there, which included family, long-timefriends, Nike employees and five local high school cross-country teams. We were all there to honor Geoff and run a loop on the trail.
It was a beautiful sight: Seeing all of the high school kids there yesterday got me tothinking about my own cross-country running when I was younger. Every fall I got so excited for cross-country to begin! The first leaves turning on the trees and a crispness to the air in the morning signaled that the cross-country season was about to begin! I got my start in organized running through my junior high cross-country team.
Running was so pure for me back then. There were no complications, no expectations, no family to provide for. I ran simply because I loved it. I loved being around my teammates and my best friends. I loved breathing in the crisp fall air and hearing the leaves crinkle under my shoes. I loved racing on the green of a golf course or through a park — the freedom that came with racing across grass and hills. When I think of cross-country I think of my love for running.
As I looked on at all the high school runners I felt so happy, almost giddy forthem. They are participating in a sport that will carry them through life. It will be a friendfor them always. It was a totally heartwarming experience.
At times it is good for all of us to reflect on why we started our journey in running. Was it to lose weight, to take some time for solitude, to meet new friends? Often we are so caught up in the here and now that we forget the simplicity of the joy in running. We are worried about qualifying for Boston, about making our weekly mileage, or how to justify the time we spend away from our loved ones. I ask you all to take a step back and remember what drove you to begin your journey in the first place. For me, it was being a 12-year-old girl who finally felt at home in a sport she instantly loved. A place where I was at peace. What was your reason? Remember it, and remind yourself of the simple joys. Happy running!
— Kara Goucher, Elite Marathoner