This is a story that Dr. Angela Pucci shared with us back in January after she ran a 10k race in Canmore. We love this story and have experienced the same thing in triathlon races. There’s a “we’re in this together” component to the sport that fosters a great sense of community and camaraderie like Angela speaks about below.
I ran track in high school and University. I was a “full-of-type-2-muscle-fibre-spinter-girl”, and the 200m was my favourite distance. So, 5km and 10km “road races” are, for me, experiences, not competitions.
It was the Canmore Rocky Mountain Half, and I ran the 10km. I had put together a 10 week training plan, of which I followed about 70% of the time. So, I set my standards based on the fact that I followed my training program 70% of the time!
The race starts, and like most road races, the first 1-2km are a jumbled mess of weaving through people and finding a rhythm. The first part of this race is through town, so it seemed that every 75 meters I was making a 90 degree turn down a different street. There weren’t any mile markers, and because I have yet to hop on the Garmin Train (though I am very close), I wasn’t sure of my pace.
About 3.5km’s in, I realized the woman just in front of me had been just in front of me for a few minutes. We seem to be running at about the same pace. Without intent, we ended up shoulder to shoulder. She was breathing heavy, but consistent. She had in ear buds. We both kept looking straight ahead. No acknowledgement of each other. We were both focused and relaxed.
At about 5km, still together, we moved onto the gravel trails of beautiful Canmore. I was thinking about so many things at this point; how beautiful the mountains are, how fortunate I am to be able to run again (I left running for 8 years due to a pregnancy related injury), how lucky we are to have such great weather, I wonder if she minds that we are running together?, this pace is perfect, etc.
After a while, it seemed like I was out for a run with a running buddy. Relaxed. Focused. Just, no talking. Not sure if I could have talked much at our pace. But that’s the difference between a “race atmosphere” and a “Sunday long run”.
With a few hundred meters to go, the finish line banner was in sight. Together we picked up the pace just a bit. I knew my goal time was within reach. Maybe she had the same goal time too? There we were, tired, excited and in sync.
We crossed the finish line, together. The moment we crossed we looked at each other with the biggest smiles and gave each other the biggest hug.
“Thank you so much!” we said to each other at the same time.
“You got me through the last kilometre and a half” she said to me.
“Thank you so much for letting me hang off your shoulder” I replied.
“My name is Angela” I said.
“I’m Nicole” she replied, as we shook hands.
What a moment!
I had never, ever, had such a running moment like this one. It was pretty darn cool!
We shared a few more sentences. I discovered she is a middle school teacher in Calgary. And her name’s Nicole.
And that’s it!
For a brief moment in time I had a running buddy that I didn’t know ‘till we crossed the finish line. I wonder if we will ever cross paths again? Regardless, thank you, Nicole, for a great run. Not sure if I could’ve kept up the pace without you.
Thanks for sharing Angela!