Thursday, May 15, 2014

My Best Race

After running my usual Wednesday night 7 with Who's Up? last night, I walked down the street to Grace Church to attend the South Jersey Running Club's last meeting before the summer break.  Local author Chris Cooper, author of My Best Race: 50 Runners and the Finish Line They''ll Never Forget, was invited to speak about his book.

After the meeting, I downloaded the book to my Kindle (the book is only available in e-book format) and started reading.  It features stories from famous runners like Jeff Galloway and Kara Goucher, as well as average runners, all about what they consider their best race.  The majority of the stories focus not on a PR or a first place finish, but on other, more poignant details that make the race indelible.

It's impossible to read a book like this and not ask myself the same question posed to these 50 runners: what was my best race?

My mind considers dozens of possibilities from over the years.  Was it the 800 I ran in high school track when I pushed myself to the breaking point and collapsed just short of the finish? Was it the 2011 5k in which I broke a 14-year-old PR and won the entire race?  Was it the first race that Stevie ever watched me run in which I set a half PR without even trying?

This might be the easy answer here because it is the most recent, but I think my best race would have to be Philly 2013. Sure, the PR and BQ were great and certainly help make it memorable, but it goes so much more beyond that.  The blood, sweat and tears I put into training make it a proud accomplishment.  The difficulties I overcame while training make it unforgettable.  But it's my wife Stevie that elevates this race to my best ever.

I will never forget the support she showed me, especially in the week leading up to the race. She left me notes of encouragement every day in that week.  She listened to my incessant stream of consciousness of self doubt and complaining.  She abstained from alcohol with me. She made signs and T-shirts for friends and family during race day.  She was with me during the race every time I pressed my fingers together and felt my wedding ring.  And after the race, when we found each other in the crowd, the others held back to give us a moment together. The majority of that race is a blur of excitement and screaming fans and fatigue and mental split calculations, but this is the moment that stands out for me:  wrapped in her arms, crying and mumbling, so happy to have someone to share in my triumph.


  1. Nice story!
    Joe from Fl

  2. That made me tear up - both from your version and similar ones I have with my husband. The people in our life...they sure can make the run.

  3. Thanks for reading, Joe and Christina. Glad you enjoyed it.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...