It’s been the best time I’ve shared with my family. It’s been a transcendent time I’ve spent on my own. It’s been the pinnacle of my athletic career—a career I never even had until I started to run. Global Running Day? Sign me up. The sport has changed my life, introduced me to new people, given me a job, a book, a platform. I can’t even remember what I did before I started to run.
The thing about running that makes it special is that it’s open to everyone. A few weeks back, Reid Coolsaet, the second fastest marathoning Canadian of all-time, sent a tweet saying, in effect: whatever you’re racing, you’re racing. Don’t ever say, “I’m just running the half.” Everything is equal. Everything is a challenge. Everything is decided on a given day in a given setting in a given pair of sneakers—anything can happen when we race. Racing, and running, doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t judge. It doesn’t play favourites. Anyone can toe the line. And anyone can run around the block. And then run further. And further. And keep going. The bug catches us all.
So what does Global Running Day mean to iRun? More than anything, it’s a chance for us to say: welcome. Welcome to the sport we love. The sport we choose. The hobby we have and the community we’ve made and the place we cherish—where we root for each other, engage in a healthy activity, volunteer, travel, raise money for charity, get B.A.A. tattoos, eat bananas and bagels, and know, more than anything, that there is no finish line. When you run, you run. Whether you’re Ed Whitlock, Sarah Hall, Krista DuChene or the rest of our people—the middle of the packers. The ones that come out for Sunday long runs and dress in two pairs of gloves when we attempt Around the Bay.
A salute to runners everywhere on Global Run Day. It’s a gimmicky thing and a weird notion that probably somewhere has some kind of marketing tie. But that’s OK. We’ll take it. We’ll run hills and fight swooping blackbirds. We’ll wear bright yellow shoes and use Port-a-Potties. We’ll drink Nuun and Gatorade on the run and race through rainstorm and heatwave and sign up again. Thinking about runners and running, we have to salute all the good we do—and by “we,” I mean: our people. We head to New York for the New York Marathon and then volunteer to help out in Staten Island. We run the Boston Marathon and then, when the bombs explode, we turn toward the carnage, use our race clothes as tourniquets to do what we can.
We’ve made our lives better through running. We have heroes, big and small, famous and not. The list is endless. Let’s just take a moment on Global Running Day and say the name: Terry Fox. And how about Lanni Marchant? Has anyone ever asked a Canadian runner for an autograph and a photo and been turned away? Even when, like Natasha Wodak at Ottawa last year, their race was only two hours away and they were competing for the Canadian Championships?
In short, Global Run Day is like Valentine’s Day. I don’t know how it started but that’s OK, I still like a nudge to get carnations for my wife. Have fun everybody and let’s see how many of us can work a run in. So many people are runners.
So many of us should feel good today.