I really don’t know why I go to expos. I have only been to three and, while I know it’s supposed to be about getting your product out there and selling, I find myself just talking running all day and wanting to hear peoples’ stories about their most difficult marathon or how they are going to sign up for their first 5K or why they’re running because their daughter is ill and they created a team to run for Children’s Brain Tumor research charity. It’s SO about the fuel that is stoking the fires. I created Run Momma Run to remind people, especially busy moms who often forget to reward themselves, to celebrate their running. How did I get so lucky getting to meet people willing to share their stories?
Meet Marina and Denise. My business partner, Michelle, and I met hem on the streetcar in Portland on expo weekend, just after they finished the 1/2 marathon. We were on our way to REI to try on some Vibram FiveFingers. They were headed for a shower and a big plate of food. We asked them what we thought was a simple question, “How was your race day?” Well, they started out with a 3 hour drive the night before, but had to turn back an hour into it after realizing Marina had forgotten her wallet. Then they decided they’d be too late to arrive on time to get their packets and tracked down a friend to pick them up. The plan was to meet him later at his hotel. That seemed easy enough except they thought he was staying at the Marriot, only to find out he was check in at the Double Tree. More late night driving around. Since it was pouring rain marathon morning, they decided to take some extra clothes, but struggled at the last minute on where to hide them. Nearby bushes seemed like a good idea. The race itself went ok, they said. They even PRed. After the race though, they ended up leaving their drop bag after not being able to push their way through the crowd to rummage through the bushes where they sort of remembered hiding it. With all that behind them, they didn’t care. They ran it. They had their medals, their t-shirts, their rose and their space blankets!
Yesterday’s expo offered more great stories, like the sweet one I heard from Stacy. I first saw Stacy in her yellow volunteer traffic safety vest outside in the parking lot as I pulled my car in to set up at the RiverBend 5K, a fundraiser for Lane Coalition for Healthy Active Youth. She not only directed me in, but helped me unload my pile, even saving me a parking spot later when I had to run back to the house for a forgotten item. When the race and expo were underway, Stacy paid all the vendors a visit and her and I chatted about her running. She said her father had gone on long bike rides and inspired her to quit smoking and start walking, then running. She would walk from mailbox to mailbox on her street, then started running from mailbox to mailbox until she could run the entire 1/2 mile out and back. Recently she hadn’t gotten out there as much, but was ready to start up again. She looked at the runner momma pendants I had at the booth and said, “You know, I’m going to tell my good friend about these and tell her to get me one. Then I’ll tell her to give it to me when I’ve made the distance. By then, I will have forgotten that she bought it and I’ll be surprised and excited about it!” That made my day. Thanks for the stories, ladies… sometimes long and complicated, sometimes simple, but always meaningful and true. Mmmm, maybe I DO know why I got to expos.
What’s your recent ‘story’ about running?