That feeling of seeing someone you love achieving their dream and watching them complete a race brings about such warm feelings and hope that oftentimes running couples find themselves moved to tears. It’s pride mixed with admiration, relief, a second-hand runner’s high and equals—bliss.
“I was trying to push her along with a half kilometre to go and you want to help them, but you just can’t jump over the turnstile,” says Ryan Field, a Toronto-based runner training for the Berlin Marathon with the help of his longtime girlfriend, Kathleen Lawrence, a competitive marathon racer who recently received her first elite bib. “Afterwards, seeing her come out of the chute and she’s overcome with emotions—she hit her goal—and you know everything that goes into it, and later she said that when she saw me at the 30K mark: I needed that.”
Lawrence says that, in her first Boston qualifier, she not only needed Field’s support, but that it elevated her, as love does—especially early on—through life, and her next few races.
“It carried me through,” says Lawrence, also training for the Berlin Marathon, where she and Field will be celebrating their seventh anniversary: site of their first destination race (Ryan has cheered Kathleen on at all of the majors; this year, is the first time, for his forty-second birthday, he’s also going to run). “Whenever I see Ryan at races it gives me a boost,” says Kathleen, “it’s the pure joy of accomplishment, and seeing someone who’s important to you.”
Canada Day is a time of celebration and relaxation and appreciating the end of the school year and a well-deserved break from work. As we all continue to sort out our responses to surviving COVID and whatever else, it’s nice to take a pause to appreciate the joy and astonishment of running and love.
“Dave and I met in Peterborough at the winter half-marathon in 1991; we were introduced by some mutual running friends after the race and my arms—yes, arms—were cramping because I was dehydrated and Dave offered to massage them for me,” says Cynthia O’Halloran, adding that, 21 years later, Dave still massages her arms after a race. “There was no way that I was about to say no to that good-looking guy!”
Obviously run clubs and races provide a community where eligible singles pursue their hobby with passion and a shared interest can provide a backdrop for falling in love both with a sport, and with a partner. 44 years ago Lori Rae Bernstein met her partner on a run and Susan Reynolds-David had such a good running first date that she decided to marry her partner—in the middle of a half marathon.
Sandra Walsh met her partner at a shakeout run at the Boston Marathon and Olympian Dayna Pidhoresky is in a relationship with her coach, the great Josh Seifarth. Kathleen Lawrence says her relationship with Ryan Field has helped her as a runner. They run together sometimes.
“It helped my training because it shifted my speeds a bit and I tried something different,” Lawrence explains. “I make her run slow,” clarifies Field.
“Running with Ryan caused me to shift my easy pace which I attribute as a game changer this year,” says Kathleen.
“Because I’m really slow,” concludes Field.
Most of us will be running this long weekend, some of us alone, some of us with a crew, and some of us with a partner. Be safe everyone and have a happy holiday—may you all find love in your sneakers, be it for the sport or for someone who catches your eye at your next half marathon.