The 2013 TransRockies Run finished in Beaver Creek on Sunday. As I happened to be spending the weekend in Beaver Creek anyway, I purposely went for a bike ride early then made a point of sipping a local beer at a cafe near the finish line on Sunday afternoon.
In August 2012, I got to be part of the TransRockies Run community and ran the 120 miles (plus a few bonus miles) from Buena Vista to Beaver Creek with my friend and running partner Katya. A man named Dave, who was doing the Run3 last year, stuck with us for a couple days, encouraging us through each leg of each stage until his race finished after the third day of running. Therefore, he ended up in several photos with me and Katya, including the one image that made us the official poster children of the TransRockies Run. Dave ran all six stages of the 2013 TransRockies Run, and I just had to be at the finish line for him on Sunday. While waiting for him to cross the line, I sipped my beer and eavesdropped on other runners who’d completed this year’s race.
I’d figured that being there at the finish line this year, when I hadn’t participated, would feel different, weird, like I was a phony or a wannabe in that community. But, it didn’t seem that way at all. As I waited for Dave to finish, everyone who’d been part of the community last year and was there again this year said hello and stopped to chat. They asked how I was and wondered what’s new in my life. They hugged and said I was welcome in their homes anytime if I was ever in the area. They remembered Katya and sent their regards. They invited me to to this year’s after parties.
Even a runner who hadn’t done last year’s race saw me in the bathroom and said hello. I asked how it was for her and she said, “Tough,” then asked how my race went. I looked a little too perky, probably, to have just finished the six-day run, so she wasn’t sure if I’d done it but figured she should ask. I explained that I ran it last year but just came to say hi today. “Oh, I thought I’d seen you around,” she said, with a friendly smile.
When Dave crossed the line, totally spent, he walked with his partner to the bag pickup, where I was waiting to say hello. We hugged and chatted a while. He said that the TransRockies Run was really tough and expressed how much he respects us 2012 runners for our race last year (mostly because of the stage 6 bonus miles, I think). After only a couple minutes of conversation, I congratulated him and let him go about his day. I remember how it is when you’re done with TransRockies. A cold creek soak followed by a shower are the only things on your mind, other than a tall glass of chocolate milk, of course.
But, my day was complete. I’d given Dave a congratulatory hug and been unexpectedly welcomed back into the TransRockies Run community, like a long-lost family member with common blood, forming a bond that lasts. The only item left on my to-do list was getting a photo with the TransRockies trailer immortalizing the jump shot Dave, Katya, and I perfected at Hope Pass last summer. And so I went and ticked that off, too.
Have you ever felt this lasting sort of bond with a race community? If so, share in the comments boxes. We want to know what else awesome events bond their participants like family!