There are moments in life that hit you like a sucker punch, totally unexpected and able to knock you to your knees. I had one earlier this week.
A simple discussion among friends, talking about the future of obstacle racing. Statements that non-elites have no place at certain events, that the existence of an open heat somehow makes the elite heat unworthy. That those racers who never reach the podium, while they can still run the ordinary courses and keep the bills paid, should never be permitted on the best courses.
That I don’t deserve to be here.
From as far back as I can remember, I have always been told all the things I would never be able to do. “You don’t have the genetics to be a runner.” “Your lungs never fully recovered, you will always be short winded.” “Oh, no, travelling is far too expensive. Not even worth it to get a passport.”
It took 30 years for me to stop listening. And then the world opened up.
England. Japan. France. Running crazy distances through the mountains, seeing things that I can’t even describe to those who I grew up with. Pushing through the cold, the heat, the pain. Achieving nearly everything that they said I never could.
I have earned my right to be here. And there are a few things that you must do before you can tell me that I don’t deserve the chance to run the same course as you:
You must shiver through the last few miles of cold, wet misery at Wolverhampton, shaking so badly that you can’t even manage to drink the hot beverage at the finish line.
You must stare up the steep slopes of Killington, your exhausted mind trying to determine if the clearing you see far above you is where you have been, or where you are going.
After 11 hours of constant suffering, at an event you may never get another chance to complete, you have to give up your chance of finishing to stay behind and look after an injured competitor.
You have to do at least a few events after at least an eight hour drive and on less than two hours of sleep, because that is what is required to get the week’s work done and make it to the starting line.
When you have completed all of these, then MAYBE we can discuss what events I have or have not earned my shot at a DFL finish.
Until then, I’ll see you at the starting line.