Recently, the running world mourned the loss of Harriette Thompson, a 94 year old 2 time cancer survivor, who set the record for the fastest half-marathon for a woman in her age group. In a sport where youth and speed are celebrated advantages, Ms. Thompson just raised the bar for what many of us really want on our bucket list: to run for the rest of our lives.
As I pondered the many things I’ve accomplished in my short running journey as well as those goals I’d yet like to achieve, I look at Harriette in awe. She’s my hero. She’s my inspiration. I want to be like her when I grow up.
Although not much of a thing in Road races, triathletes are required to have their age written on the back of their calf. I don’t know why, really, but I always loved seeing women a decade or more older than me pouring their heart and soul into their run. More often than not, I’ll say something encouraging, telling her she inspires me. Just like Harriette Thompson.
I want to run forever. That is really what is at the top of my bucket list. Let me keep doing this, I don’t care how fast or slow or where or when or if I’m wearing a costume or not. Just let me run until This Journey is over and God calls me Home.
Yes, I would like to get faster and earn more medals and do fun races. Ultimately, though, this is a journey. The waystations look different along the way, but the goal is always whatever is on the other side of that horizon.
The “Bucket List” is tough for me. Let’s not forget where that phrase comes from: things we want to do before we “Kick the Bucket.” So I don’t want to think about the races or accomplishments I want to reach before I die…It’s not really a checklist as much as it is a way of life.
Which is why I have bigger things to think about than some race getting cancelled. Do I get to still run? Oh, I do? Well, fantastic! This isn’t about bling, or bragging rights, or PRs, or anything like that. It’s about living life one step, one breath, one mile at a time. Running is a clean, beautiful representation of everything my life has come to mean. Running to process my thoughts, to escape long enough to find peace, to be one with my body and my Spirit…and I want to run forever…until I reach the horizon.
I’ll still push myself to be better, faster, stronger…as compared only to myself. I’ll add a race and a goal and a target here and there to keep things fresh, but ultimately, I have one goal: To be better than who I was yesterday. So if there is one thing on my bucket list it’s to just keep running.