This month’s Runners Tell All link-up prompt is all about favorite running memories, or memorable running moments.
When you’ve been running almost literally your whole life, it’s tough to pick just one “favorite” memory. I thought about this a lot — kept toying with it in the back of my mind. And then, it was an easy choice.
I’ve won — flat-out, legit won — exactly one competitive race my entire life. Freshman year of high school, girl’s JV, our second dual meet and first home meet of the season. It was the second time I’ve ever run on our home course (which I still remember today) and the first time I ever realized I might have actual talent as a runner.
I’m still not entirely sure what happened. We lined up at the start — something like 20 girls from my school and maybe seven from the other school — and BANG the gun went off and within 50 feet, I was out in front. We started with a lap around the track and I remember glancing around, waiting for my teammates to catch up with me. I think I even said “Amanda where are you??” out loud, expecting one of the girls I hadn’t beaten yet to pass me.
But no one did, and we went up the ramp and across the parking lot to the creek path and around the soccer fields and back up the creek path, all the guys and the varsity girls cheering even though most of them had no idea who I was yet. I don’t think I ever knew where any other runners were or how close they were behind me. I just kept running, never quite believing I could or should be doing this.
The end of the course is a straight shot across the outfield of the baseball field, foul line to foul line. At this point, even though it was only a two-mile race, I was hurting, and one of the girls who normally ran varsity, but was recovering from an injury, pulled up next to me. “Good job,” I gasped.
(I later learned she absolutely hated me for the rest of the season for that race. Luckily, as she confessed when signing my yearbook a couple years later, she got over it.)
By then I could hear everyone — my teammates, my parents, my coach — cheering for both of us. I honestly wouldn’t have been upset in the slightest about coming in second — but I wasn’t just going to give in. I found just a teeny bit left in me for a kick and crossed the finish line first.
And okay, it was a JV dual meet that was a given we’d win — we very likely swept the top five spots, I don’t remember. But damn, winning is fun. And doing that kinda got me “noticed” by Coach and the older varsity runners I look up to on the team. And, most importantly, I ran with a hell of a lot more confidence after that.
What’s your favorite/most memorable running moment?