cowbells, firefighters, and serious runners

The greatest thing about running a competitive race no matter what kind of athlete you are, is the diversity of people at the starting line. Running the cowtown in Fort Worth this past weekend was like most races, really exhilarating.

At the starting point, thousands of runners of all shapes and sizes waited, some laughing and joking, some serious, others dressed in crazy costumes.

The sea of people converged on Fort Worth roads, weaving in and out of neighborhoods for the first mile as the serious runners separated from the pack. A man in his 70’s passed me, then I
passed him after mile 1. Homeowners stood on balconies of grand estates, waving us on while they had their morning coffee. By about mile 3 when I wanted to slow down, the older man passed by.
“Dont give up!” he shouted, “you can do it!”

His inspiration gave me the power to speed up, And press on faster.
For some reason it choked me up. Races have a way of doing that, and if you’ve ever run one you know what I’m talking about. Maybe
its the adrenaline, or the feeling of accomplishment. Maybe its the thoughts about the people you wish could run with you. Maybe its the endorphins and all the other physiological changes that come
with race day.

During mile three I heard the loud chant of men, and I picked up the pace to join them. I followed a group of fire department guys for the rest of the race, inspired by their comforting cadence, and songs. It was a good race, a beautiful day, and a time to bond with two girlfriends I hadn’t seen in a long time, we ran the race together, but alone, each at our own pace.

The cowtown is legendary. Along the 5k race path I heard cowbells, the cheers of spectators, and the footstep of serious runners preparing for the marathon the next day.

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