I’ll meet you at the finish….
By Myrna P. Unger
(This column is dedicated to Tim “Superman” Simpkins, and any runner who faces adversity in their lives and uses their running as strength to find the finish line.)
I don’t really know Tim very well. We don’t share personal information, get our families together, meet for dinner, or talk on the phone. We know little more about each other than he is a great runner and I am simply a runner. Yet, when I look at how running defines us and links us to each other, it’s clear to see Tim as more like me – than different.
I came to know Tim like so many others – because he shares his love for running in such a unique and visible way. It’s hard not to notice and know “Superman!” Tim knows me for a different reason. He took the time to find out my name, simply because I was a runner. You see, Tim understands that running connects us in a very special way.
The “runner” costume we wear brings us together. It creates the bond of closeness that allows us as people to appreciate each other; share with each other; and give to each other without any more in common than the fact we both define ourselves in similar ways – as runners. Running crosses all social and economic barriers. It is a magnate of commonality. It brings people together
Runners could be anywhere, on a plane; at a party, reception, or event; in a store or on vacation; when during a casual conversation we discover the person we are speaking with is another runner. Immediately, a complete stranger becomes someone we connect to. A bond occurs. It’s a remarkable thing. Isolation decreases. Common goals emerge and a psychological conversation flourishes. Suddenly, we speak the same language. We share a common frame of reference. We are no longer just a doctor, fire fighter, teacher, or mom. Sweat has no social rules.
Rather than saying “you are different than I am” – we see the sameness. We become more alike. We have immediate recognition of another person who understands why we do this bizarre thing called running. The joint understanding that there is something powerful in the motion and strength of the act of running. Running makes us unique yet common with each other. Movement, running is a universal language. We “know” and listen to each other. We share a similar journey. When we run a race together, cross paths on the streets, or run together on the track – we become more the same than different – we become each to the other a runner.
Runner, Glenn Gabriel, says it all “When you’re on a long run and you pass by another runner who’s also on a long run, you nod, they nod, in a sign of mutual respect, without words, without a breath.” Synergy.
Thanks Tim for reminding us of this – we are beings that need each other. We need to feel connected. Running does just that.
I’ll meet you at the finish.