Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the 2020 Marathon Olympic Trials. This was a phenomenal experience; one I will always remember. The trials were in Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, Georgia, where the 1996 Olympic games were held. Even the Olympic torch in the park was re-lit for the trials. There was so much hype in the air, the energy was immense. Conditions were tough, hilly course with a heavy wind. The race was three loops and very spectator friendly. The male athletes went off first, followed by the females twenty minutes later.
Excitement bounded through the air as the athletes rounded back through with each loop. As expected, the lead group would get smaller with each lap while the rest of the athletes became more and more dispersed. A Des Linden fan, I cheered hardest for her each time around. Only the top three finishers for both males and females get to participate in the Olympic games, while 4th place lands you the alternate position. Galen Rupp placed first by over 40 seconds scoring the first male Olympic spot. Soon after, Aliphine Tuliamuk banked the first female spot followed by Molly Seidel seven seconds later, this was Molly’s FIRST marathon.
I walked away from this event inspired. All the athletes who competed that day, even those in last place, had worked their tails off to be there. They had put in the work to be in those Olympic trials, a position others only dream of. Good genes only go so far. These athletes had taken the road less traveled and it truly made all the difference. Similarly, every time YOU lace up and go for that tempo run, long ride or early morning swim, YOU are taking the road less traveled. YOU will finish a race that others won’t. And YOU are very likely inspiring someone else.
The next day I ran the Publix Atlanta half marathon, a great event if you have ever considered it. Towards the end, I noticed a runner wearing a shirt that read “courage is endurance for one step more.” A fitting quote for the weekend and upcoming race season. And, something to keep in mind when your workouts seem brutal or there seems to be no finish line in sight.
Have courage, endure, AME high and be sure to wear that smile!