On a Thursday I get a text… It’s a friend.
“Hey Trey. We need a runner for a relay race tomorrow. It’s 10 people. 150 miles. Somebody dropped out late. Can you do this?”
It’s an event that would require me to run five miles at 9 p.m. the next day, and distances of four miles at 3:30 a.m. and 3.5 miles at 12 p.m. the following Saturday. That’s 12.5 miles in less than 24 hours over the middle of the night. Why not? I accept the challenge and reply,
“I can do that.”
The Buck 50 was an event put together in Ross County by a local chapter of Drug Free Clubs of America. Their initiative is to keep schools and students drug-free, and to raise funds and awareness towards that cause with a simple M.A.D.E effort. My Attitude Determines Everything.
I suppose my attitude going into this was simply being up for the cause. We truthfully never know when a challenge will arrive or when our purpose will unfold. We just have to be ready.
My first leg was the most difficult, and not because of distance, but because of preparation. I had been injured and healing from a back injury, not having trained for over a week. Throughout the run my lungs and legs were heavy which made me feel slow. I prevailed throughout it with mental resolve and finished at the Adena High School checkpoint. Running through a long line of spectators who were cheering loudly as runners were coming in. A spectacle that made me feel like a rock star and well worth the labor.
The second leg was my favorite. I didn’t know how I would react to being out in the dark at midnight hours, in freezing temperatures, not knowing where I was going. By the sound of it I thought this would be miserable. The actual experience was delightful. Being out in the rolling hills and woods of Ross County provided for a crisp, refreshing air that gave me one of the best runs I had in weeks. It was a serene feeling that only comes from a runner’s effort.
The third run, my shortest, was clean up duty. It was my last leg and in daylight for the first time, to which, I ran my quickest miles. By the end I had felt the compilation of the late hours and long runs and fatigue hit me like bricks. My body and mind had reached its max. I had given it my all.
What an incredible event! In all, the cause raised over $70,000 with the participation of 38 relay teams and countless organizers and volunteers. All the while, I thought I was just running, and this is true, but the power that people have when we come together is real. What mesmerized me in this event is that it is not just that we can come together, but that we do come together for great things.
With work, with money, with life, we’re thinking what we do is small, but coming together and giving what you have does have large-scale value. The total amount of dollars may not give you a wow factor. Sure it’s a lot, but you may think “Sure, great, but I have my own cares to give.”
Let me elaborate. When you involve your own cares as a part of others, you amplify your own M.A.D.E ability. Compassion resides within you and stress settles itself. This weekend I had not planned on being a part of a cause, I was just up for it because my attitude determined so. Live compassionately friends.
Trey Tompkins is a local resident who writes fitness columns for the Record-Herald.