When Finishing is Winning


Turning 40 years old is such a significant milestone. For us humans, it roughly marks our “mid-life” point, which should naturally run about an 80-ish-year course. Reading glasses, shrinking clothes – er, expanding waistlines, gray hair, lost car keys, odd aches and pains. If you haven’t already done so, have I sold you on turning 40 yet?

This year, the Crim Festival of Races turns 40, and it has never been more vital, healthier or more exciting. I ran in my first Crim event at age 41. Actually, I ran my first anything when I was 41. I suppose I may have taken to the pavement, had I not moved to this area; but I sincerely doubt it.

You see, what attracted me to running was the Crim. I was 40, sporting reading glasses and well on my way to needing transitional lenses. The fabulous 40s waistline was in full-swing. I had my car keys attached to my purse … and I still lost them all the time. I was recovering from major surgery on my neck, due to arthritis-laden herniated discs. Yet, somehow, some way, in the midst of this middle-aged horror-fest, I was inspired to begin running. I was not only going to run, I was going to run ten miles.

My elementary school PE teacher would probably have collapsed had anyone suggested that slow LoBue kid would one day run a ten-mile road race. I was “that” kid. I was picked for kick-ball because one of the teams had to pick me.

We have established that at 40, I was uncoordinated and not exactly physically fit. But, after watching hundreds of people cross that finish line, I knew I could do it; but I had to sign up for the Crim and the training program. I was terrified and had no idea what I was in for; but I soon found out why so many people who never thought they could do it, suddenly knew that they would.

In the Crim training program, I was running weekly with people who were at my pace. We supported each other. We laughed together. We learned together. We endured popping knees and numb toes together. “Winning” suddenly meant so much more than being “first” or “best;” it was about saying “yes.” The only person I had to challenge was me; and I was the only person to whom there was anything to prove. There was no PE teacher wearing a whistle and cheap, mirrored sunglasses, tapping his toe at the finish line and shouting, “Today, LoBue! We need to get this done TODAY!”

In fact, what I found at the end of that race, as I staggered across those beautiful bricks, were my training buddies – cheering, proud and crying right along with me. No one cared how long it took me … I finished. I won! I said I could, and I did.

I crossed the finish line alone, but I did not finish alone. Running is an individual sport, unless you’re part of a relay. Running in the Crim is like being a member of the biggest team you could ever imagine, and everyone there wants everyone else to win – together.

Thank you, Crim. You changed my life.


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