Over the last few days I have been trying to find the right words for this post because I didn’t want to sound arrogant or condescending, but I did, very much, want to explore the topic.
On Friday afternoon I ran a half-marathon to check the route had been properly marked, and that the markers hadn’t been tampered with, before the actual race took place the following day as part of the Endurancelife Coastal Trail Series South Devon event. In the evening I met up with the other course checkers who had run the other section which linked with the half-marathon course to make up the marathon and ultramarathon routes. Mike (64), who I had not met before, was semi-retired, but still led out coasteering groups and had some years earlier won his age group at the Bog Snorkelling Triathlon. Annie (63) I knew already as we had met some years ago at the Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon and been friends ever since.
As Mike & I supped our beer and Annie enjoyed a few glasses of the Cricket Inn’s excellent red wine, we remarked on the fact that it was the ‘oldies’ that were checking the course and would be up early in the morning to help at registration before looking after a checkpoint, so that young weekend warriors coming down from London, and others, could feel good about completing a tough half-marathon. And they should feel good about completing a half-marathon (especial a tough off-road one). The fact that a bunch of oldies had beaten them to it and made it possible doesn’t detract from that. We had a rewarding and challenging time and they had a challenging and, hopefully, rewarding time.
We share the same thread in life’s rich tapestry although we are in different positions along that thread. It is not our position that is notable, but how we move along it and the effort we put in to making that progress. First time half-marathon runners, repeat marathon runners and old-timers like Mike, Annie and myself, with many different achievements under our belts, can all mingle at these sort of events and view each other with equally respect.