Inspiration can come from many places. Here’s one: a story I read some years back that I’d like to share with you.
The late Grete Waitz was a nine-time winner of the New York City Marathon, and one of running’s true champions. In 1993 she was inNew York for the marathon, although she came just as a friend of the race, and in support of her husband, who was running. While she was there, she met Zoe Koplowicz, a marathoner who suffers from multiple sclerosis, and who competes while using crutches. It usually takes her about 24 hours to finish a marathon, by which time there is hardly anyone at the finish line. Grete promised her that she would be at the finish line, waiting for her. In the early hours of the morning following the race, Grete ran out to the finish line to see if Zoe was there yet; Zoe was close, but hadn’t yet come into view. Then Grete discovered that there weren’t any more finishers medals left. Horrified and embarrassed, she ran back to her hotel room and grabbed her husband’s medal, telling him “you don’t really need another one,” and made it back to the finish line in time to put it around Zoe’s neck when she came across the line.
I often think of that story — about the caring of an elite runner for all the other brave people who attempt the marathon, and of the courage of a challenged runner like Zoe Koplowicz, whose achievement makes me thankful for having the opportunity to train and race. Think of them too, when you’re a bit tired on the trail, and maybe you’ll find it a bit easier to locate that hidden reserve of energy within you.