Lots to blog about here, I will try to keep it brief. (I am not good at that)
BCRR Club elections are planned for this June; details to follow in the next few weeks. As of right now, the entire board, Rich Kanak -Vice President, Rob Hoy – Treasurer and I (Johnny King-Marino, President) are running for re-election. We certainly welcome and encourage competition. Our running once again for our board positions is in no way meant to discourage anyone with fresh new ideas and lots of energy to run for one of our positions. (Read: “Save me please!”) As a board, we enjoy working well together and feel as though we haven’t quite finished some of our tasks or completed all of our goals.
There are lots and lots of fun and exciting things happening with the club. We continue to raise tens of thousands of dollars for an assortment of worthy charities. Together we are helping to fight Parkinson’s disease, buying Christmas gifts for kids who would otherwise go without, donating tens of thousands to education, providing scholarships to those in need of a college education while continuing to participate in the sport of running that we all love and cherish. BCRR is helping to fund Tyler Park and are also donating money to the Delaware Canal Park in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The list of charities goes on and on.
Meanwhile, our members continue to log countless miles, race locally as well as internationally, and finish first, last and everywhere in between. Each of you, from the 5 minute milers to the 15 plus minute milers are brothers and sisters in the greatest sport on earth…running. Trail runners, ultra runners, 5K specialists, road milers, Boston marathon qualifiers , podium finishers and the guy with the sag wagon following close behind at your local road race… are all equal members of what I feel is one of the greatest running clubs ever.
When we put on our BCRR singlet (even that really ugly orange one Rich designed), we are one, we are powerful and we make a difference. Thanks to you, as members of the Bucks County Roadrunners, the world is a better, fitter and of course a happier place. I am blessed to be part of our movement.
I googled the definition of grace, “simple elegance or refinement of movement” and “courteous goodwill”. Those of you who have visited my office probably have discovered that I often run behind schedule. Sometimes it is simply because the needs of my patients have exceeded the allotted time on my schedule. Sometimes I run behind because I am busy learning, not anatomy of diagnosing diseases or the latest treatment for this or that, while that is important… I am learning to be a better human…and my patients, young and old are the best teachers.
As many of you know, I am struggling with a bad knee. My knee and I are not seeing eye to eye. It wants to retire and protests vehemently when I try to run. Me? I am just getting started. However, I am limping like a fool. Is this “refinement of movement”? Is this “elegance” or “grace”? Since I was 9 years old, from top to bottom, inside and out, through and through, I have been a runner. It is part of my DNA. With this latest injury, I began to question my identity as a runner. It made me wonder…If I can’t run how I can be the president of a successful running club. Maybe I am not really a runner anymore?
I have an older patient who is wiser than his many years. He has a serious heart and lung condition and can barely get up the steps without gasping for air. He also has a myriad of spinal conditions that severely limit his capacity for movement. On one of his visits, chatting it up while working on him, I asked him about his hobbies. He told me that his hobby is golf, “I am a golfer”, he said proudly. You see, he loves golf, eats sleeps and breathes it. There is almost nothing he loves better that playing golf. As his healthcare provider, I knew this guy was pretty much not capable playing golf.
Before I was able to say something stupid and put my foot in my mouth about his physical limitations, he sensed my bewilderment. He looked at me and said “grace”, he went on, “by the grace of God I played golf as long as I could and loved every second. Truth is I haven’t given up on playing again. I am thankful for all the golf I played; it was wonderful and I am so grateful that it doesn’t matter if I can’t golf right now or ever play again, I am a golfer. I have played golf all over the world. Am I less of a golfer than a man who can play golf and stays home and watches TV? After playing tens of thousands of rounds of golf am I less of a golfer than someone who is getting their first golf lesson?”
I let his words sink in. For some time I thought about that conversation and the word “grace”. Then I pondered my stubborn determination to run again. Why can’t I let go? God knows I have run my share of miles, of races. I have had plenty of success and lots of failures. Quit? Stop? Never! In fact somehow I am single mindedly fixated on my desire not just to run, but to fly as I once did. Fly like the wind, the earth moving quickly under my feet, a feeling that has no equal. Once more to toe the line on the tow path, running endless miles, to run there is my haven, my serenity, my peace. How could I possibly let go of that?
I thought about “grace”, then my mind wondered and I thought about my friend Greg Grace. Is he a runner even though he can hardly run a step? No doubt. He wears a running T-shirt every time he comes to my office (I am not sure he has any other clothing). He proudly wears his Boston Marathon jackets (he has many). If you go to his home you will see that he and his wife Emily have posters, plaques, trophies and medals to commemorate their amazing accomplishments. Is Greg, though disabled, less of a runner than someone who just signed up for their fist couch to 5K? Not a chance. Don’t get me wrong; just going for a run does not make you a runner. To be a runner is a passion, a vocation, a way of being, a lifestyle and so much more.
So as I continue my search for a healer to mend my broken limb, I will fill my life with the betterment of my passion, my joy, my sport and will help to enable those to find the peace, the serenity, the passion joy the thrill and exhilaration that being a runner can bring. Today and every day I walk this earth as a runner with those who can run and those who can no longer run but have known and felt the joy that running can bring. That joyful feeling that will never escape those of us who are forever runners.