The Heart and Spirit of a Runner
To my fellow RunJunkEes:
A while ago I sent Mr. Woods a story about a young lady who, during the time of her biggest running struggle, found it inside herself to encourage me through my running struggle. She reached out her hand and gave me the "side-five" of a lifetime. The story was uplifting and showed how we, as runners, have the power (and some might say the obligation and the duty) to share our strength and love for running with others in the community. I was very proud of that moment and how it inspired me and brought me closer to this group.
This time, I approach you to remind you that, as runners, we have the potential to be thrust into other people's lives without warning our notice. We are not in our home – so we can't turn the story off. We are not in our car – so we can't drive by with our eyes diverted. We are compelled to often engage right in the moment, and we have no choice but to act. I know, before my run last night, I would have been the one to turn the channel or drive by – but not anymore. I will remember this story and remind myself that I am a runner regardless of whether I have my shoes laced up.
Let my story serve as a reminder to you, like it will for me, to apply your runner's mentality wherever you are. Apply that love for the human spirit in whatever situation you are in. If you are in driving in your car or lounging on your couch, you are still a runner at heart and in spirit. Engage that mentality and do what you can to make the world a better place. Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts.
Here is my story:
Tonight, my run (which is one of my favorite times of the day) was interrupted by an event that was, at the same time, one of the saddest and most pathetic events I have ever witnessed.
If you have a moment, get out a pen and a letter, address it to [In my original letter, I asked my personal friends to send the letter directly to the "Young man" in the story, but if you send it to me at "Cory McAnelly, 801 Grand Ave. Suite 3200, Des Moines, IA, 50309," I would be more than happy to get it to him. It seemed better not to post his address to the world.] Read this story and then send him a quick note.
As I was on my run I neared the top of the hill on Park between SW 38th and SW 39th. As I crested the hill, the light at the bottom of the hill by the Dry Cleaner turned green and a big black pickup peeled out like he was drag racing. His vehicle screamed up the hill and, even with my headphones in, I could hear the noise of his engine revving. As he got to the intersection of SW 39th and Park, a small yellow lab ran into the street followed closely by a young man who, it seemed, had just lost control of the puppy. The black pickup slammed into the puppy, slowed, made eye contact with me, and then sped off. I stood with another man in the road as the child sat crying his eyes out next to his dying puppy. The father came and loaded the dog into the car and I can't describe the sadness and sorrow in everyone's eyes as the limp, but still breathing, puppy was moved, only to reveal evidence that it would, most likely, not survive much longer. The young man and his parents loaded the car and headed to the vet. Sadly, I did not get the young man's name, but I stopped and got his address on my way back. If you have a minute, a card just might make his day.
The real address I want to give you is the one of the grown man in the pickup. I know accidents do happen, but even accidents have consequences. It is how you react in those moments that truly defines your mettle. Pardon my anger, but; to that waste of human space in the vehicle: you are pathetic. If I had seen your license plate, your world would be very small right now. Nothing I say will fix what you did, but trust that your actions will be judged, one way or another, and hopefully by one with ultimate power. The lessons from this are many, but remember (1) the speed limit on Park is between 30-35 in most places for a reason, (2) if you ever hit anything, stop and see what you can do, especially if a human being is involved, and (3) respect yourself enough to take responsibility for your actions in your vehicle, even if the consequences might be great.
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