Caribou and Comrades

Posted on April 20, 2011


Yesterday as I was working in Caribou I found my mind wondering as I eaves-dropped on a couple of guys chatting over lunch at a nearby table.


Because I heard those two little words that make my heart sing. Negative splits!

And of course, that meant they could only be talking about running. Had a conversation alongside me been about a spa I score or a brand I adore, then I may have listened in half-heartedly and shared a private smile, but running – no I had to say something!

I’ve written before about the bonds forged by running in my post Running & Scuba; partners in crime …. and I’ve no doubt I will do so again. A shared passion for running … indeed any sport, breaks down barriers like nothing else; bonds earned with sweat, pain and joy.

So we said our hellos and shared our names then got to the heart of the matter and discussed runs and races, training and trainers. Turns out one of the guys, Nick, is a seasoned Comrades Runner and will soon run his 8th event so I’ve no doubt he could teach me a thing or two. And the other, Duncan, is a demon on the squash court and shares family friends in common with me back home.

It got me thinking about when we train with others. We see, feel and react in the sanctity of the moment.
There exists an unspoken respect and a dynamic energy exchange.

And when you finish a race, the people you want to share it with are those who understand what racing is all about. And you know they themselves will get great satisfaction from your hard-earned victory. In the same vein, if you have a bad race, they are there to console you and remind you of the next race to come.

Then there’s that knowing smile. Knowing to yourself that you belong in a group who are accomplishing great things. When you look around the finish line at a marathon, you see on faces all around you the exact same feelings you feel and at that very moment, everyone there is your friend. Everyone can relate to each others experience no matter what pace or speed they were running.

When I left Caribou yesterday, after my conversation with Nick and Duncan, I reminded myself never to take fellow runners for granted. And in particular, my training buddies. I will remember to thank them for sharing runs and races with me. And for developing those special friendships involving sweat, pain and joy.

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