We have heard so much about Lance Armstong and his fall from grace and massive amount of planning and effort it took to damage his reputation and end his career, I heard talk of how this may damage the sport of running, biking and swimming - the Ironma.
I have not experienced or observed much competitive running, but I have in my life observed some “running men”. Let me tell you about a few of them.
First, a few years ago I woke up early, wanting to see the first runner of the Myrtle Beach Marathon on the boulevard. I sat there along with some photographers with some impressive cameras, also waiting to see the runners make the turn and run directly towards the spot where we were would make a great photo.
I did not know that before the runners began, there would be a special start for athletes on quad bikes, bikes designed so that the rider almost lays down and pedals. These bikes were designed for those we are not able to walk.
As I sat watching them start to go by, I noticed and heard, coming around the turn, a quad biker, and behind him on each side a Harley Davidson biker. All, three of them had on their club leather vests with patches all over them. The quad bike was painted with the Harley Davidson colors, and the quad biker was putting all his effort into his biking. You could see that he was really concentrating. His two buddies riding behind and beside him had the bikes moving very slowly just to go along with him, but you could see the happy, happy look on their faces and I heard one of the shout to the quad biker, “See, we told you that we would bike down the boulevard together again”. Apparently, the quad biker had been in an accident and his buddies inspired him to recover. Brotherly love, a good and noble thing.
My nephew Patrick, is a running man. Once married and when his children arrived, he had them running with him and his wife, and on their own. Also, playing in all kinds of sports, so beginning physical fitness was important in their lives from the very start. It is not something that they had to learn to do later in life. They developed good habits because of their parents running with them as kids -- a good and noble thing.
But my favorite, by far, was an older gentleman who must have been in his late 70’s running. He was struggling -- but you could see he was in his zone. He was running away from any group, much to himself, but the people on the side lines were cheering so loudly for him, even some breaking away to run a little with him. What we saw was a old man struggling, but in his heart he saw himself a young man running in his glory days the crowd cheering him on. He turned his head and waved and smiled and dipped his head to the bystanders cheering for him. Forever young, never giving up – a good and noble thing.
These are the Ironmen, these Running Men, these good and noble men, who did not compete for money, or fame, but pitted themselves against themselves, all of them winners in life, but each from a different perspective. As long as men like these still run, the reputation of the sport is not damaged.
Lance is the one who was corrupted and damaged. What profits a man if he loses his soul? How can Lance look his children in the face and discipline them when they miscue, and they respond, “But, Dad, you did worse.” What a price Lance has paid for his fame, fortune and his 7 wins.
Congratulations to all the runners of our Myrtle Beach Bi-Lo Marathon. You have already won. We are all runners in the race of life and what is important in life. Let’s strive to cross the finish line in good and noble standing.
The writer lives in Myrtle Beach