Thursday, October 2, 2008

Those who inspire

First of all, I will play politician and "clarify" my a somewhat stupid statement which Wildknits did a good job defending.

My comment about Grandma's holding Duluth together was based on a perspective of knowing business owners and managers up there, and they have said that the marathon is somewhat of an economic savior for them. I should have not made it sound like the people of Duluth can not live with out it. I apoligize. My experience with Duluth residents is that they are gracious and welcoming of the race. Yes, it is a pain in the rear, but it is good for the town. And, it is one of the best organized races around.

I have thought about the cut off time scenario for years, and I think what gets me is not the times, but the people who have no respect for the race. I remember seeing a story (the news actually did a segment on this guy), who came down with mono after signing up for a marathon and thus did not train. His fisrt run of the season was the marathon. They made it sound like it was such an amazing thing to do, not train and run a marathon. I feel bad for the guy getting sick, but he was healthy the 6 weeks up to the race, and was just lazy. He was in his young 20's, not overweight, and in decent physical shape. This guy overshadowed the people who actually put in countless hours and miles in to achieve something.

Whatever the cutoff time, or whatever the time one runs, is less important than the effort put forward to do well. Those who challenge themselves and put in the work inspire me. I am not a very disciplined runner, so those who are inspire me.

Here are a few who are running this weekend.

John Aikens (I think he is running) - He used to live around the corner from me, and we would train together. He is WAY faster than me, but did lots of long runs with us "slower" guys. He does not race a lot, he just loves running. He has an internal drive to kick ass, but he does not talk about it. He never talks about his running resume. When I was training with him, he ran 2:48 at Twin Cities, and was happy when I saw him at mile 24. He is a stand up guy.

Karen Gall - I had the opportunity to do some training runs at Afton with Karen in the spring, and she is a tough cookie. What is most inspiring about her, is why she runs. I don't think I could explain it here, or even could say I get it, but her familiy is plagued with diabetes. I believe she started running to fend off the inevitable comming of adult diabetes. She is always happy, and have never heard her complain. She looks just as happy at mile 1 and mile 50. She is a classy woman. Good luck this weekend.

Cindi Matt - I followed her blog this year. This is her first marathon, and she took the challenge with vengance. It is inspiring to see someone follow a plan, and stick with it. You are a tough one Cindi. There is no doubt you will do well.

Julie Berg - Yes she has a big fan club. I find her inspiring because she used to be somewhat of a back of the packer. She trains HARD. I MEAN HARD. She sets her bar really high for herself, and accepts it with grace when she does not achieve some of her goals. She loves the sport and gives back. She leads a group of women who are new to running. She loves inspiring them. Run on girl.

John Gannon - He goes to my church, and I just found out this week he is running! I found he trained for a year, lost weight, and put in the miles. He is a stand up guy, a great Christian father of 2 girls, and a super quiet-reserved man. I am very excited for him.

There are many others (who are and are not running this weekend), but these are some who came to mind. Helen Lavin, you inspire me..... but it is more envy. You just kick ass. You make it look too easy.

Pierre Oster - I can't believe he would be running with his schedule, but is super tough, and very humble. I am pretty sure he is running Glacial next weekend, and made it 50 at Superior....3 weeks after Leanhorse 50. Pierre WILL NOT talk about himslef. I ran with him at Superior for.... 4-5 hours? He did not say much, and refused to lead the way. I thought we lost him, yet would turn around and he was quietly there.

I guess I am a fan of regular people, regular people who dare to push themselves into uncomfortalbe and tough feats.

I have never painted my face for a race. I am sure we will see "Larry from Iowa". He is actually a nice guy, but quit painting the face dude.

Team Amanda is inspiring, but never got me going. It is great what he does with his daughter, but have wondered if Amanda enjoys it. Maybe she does. What is amazing is that guy ran TCM 2 years ago in 310, pushing her in that jogger. That is incredible. I don't care who you are.

There is a guy who runs barefoot, forgot his name. He does put shoes on in warm weather though. Yes, he has a crew who will give him shoes at mile 20 if the pavement is too hot. I would to see him duke it out with Keith on a trail.

Good luck to all again. Looks like good weather.


Runnin-from-the-Law said...

Thanks Matt! I'm super excited that this weekend is finally here.

I agree - it's fun to read about the regular runners. Lots of inspiring stories. I just learned that a woman on a running website I post on is going to run it on Sunday. Unplanned. She hasn't trained for it (18 miles is her furthest run). But her friend/co-worker passed away suddenly this week. He was running it with his daughter. His daughter is still planning on running it, the day after his funeral. My friend is running it with her, to support her. Now THAT is inspiring - that my friend it doing it, but more so that the daughter is still going to run it as a tribute to her dad.

SteveQ said...

The barefoot guy is Dean Laiti; he and I used to run together in White Bear. Haven't heard anything from John Akins in a while - he might've moved - but he used to be a force to be reckoned with. Amanda's dad is a great runner and claims having his daughter with him pushes him (more power to him)... I just wish she hadn't won her age class a few years back.

Helen said...

This week I would have inspired those people who enter all you can eat competitions. Maybe I need to change sports... Carbo loading, sugar loading, even a bit of alcohol loading for fun. But after suggesting to a running mate at work today that I will pull out if I start to hurt I was told they needed a female finisher on the corp team and I was it! So I'll do my best to continue to turn you green :)

wildknits said...


Thanks for the clarification. I was hoping that was more what you meant :-> The original post came off as a bit of a slam on Duluth.

Yes, the race is a huge economic boon to Duluth, but so are all kinds of things - the Lake, fall colors (good luck finding a hotel room on the weekends), holiday weekends, good snow in the winter....

Call me touchy? Really I am not, just a transplant from the Cities who is so happy to live up north and have found a way to stay here.

Cut-off times... I do wonder about "races" where the effort to prepare seems to be diluted. But, if they were as tight as it sounds like they used to be I am not sure that I would ever qualify for the road marathons.

I do agree though that training is ultimately the most important thing you can do. And it does build mental toughness (talking yourself into heading out for a run when the wind is howling off of Lake Superior, it is snowing and windchill is hovering near 40 below will take care of that ;->)

I love your list of inspiring runners. It is amazing what obstacles some folks navigate on their way to running a marathon (or ultra).