Sunday, November 17, 2013

Cheering at the Thunder Road Races

How did you spend your Saturday morning?

I spent my morning cheering on my friends that were out running in the Thunder Road Half and Full marathon. But just as importantly, I cheered on a lot of runners that I don’t know.
The day started early when I headed for the TrySports Cheer zone at the 9.5 mile mark. I found myself scanning the runners as they passed for the people that I knew were racing. I wanted to give them a shout out by name. As the crowd of runners grew larger, I found several runners were calling out my name as they passed. I of course shouted back once my eyes locked on to them and recognition was established. In a sea of orange, lime green, blue, pink, etc of colors, I have to admit something. Everything thing blends together.

Long about 9:30, I headed over to my second cheer section near the 25 mile which was to be our Charlotte Running Club cheer zone.
The cheer zone at 9 miles is important but maybe the 25 mile cheer is the most important. Here, the majority of the runners were locked in on one thing. They wanted to be finished. Their bodies were experiencing dehydration and fatigue. Cramping was becoming an issue. They have moved from looking graceful at 9 miles to struggling now. Several runners were stopping to stretch or taking a walk break. Our group sent tons of encouragement their way because they needed it the most.  There is nothing like seeing them stop to walk and then hear us cheering. Then, they try running again.

Our cheer zone remained in place until well after 1pm yesterday.
One of the final runners came by our location and made this comment to us - “Thanks for being here for the stragglers”.  We stayed and cheered because he needed our energy just as much as the guy that won the race.

On a side now, my voice is a little raspy and my throat is “scratching” this morning, but these side effects will pass and the reason behind these effects was well worth it.

To Jinnie, Lauren, and Kat, Rob, and Caitlin, “Thank You” for helping organize our cheer zones. Making a difference requires so little effort, but it does require it.
To Thunder Road racers enjoy your rest and recovery time.   

Sharing on thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner

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