Written by Marshall Phares (Far right in photo pacing the Leadville 100)
A little over a year ago, I moved to St. Louis because of my running group.
Not for a job.
Not for Ted Drewes Frozen Custard.
And no, not even for Cardinals baseball.
At the age of twenty-four, I moved to St. Louis to run with a remarkable group of people at 5:30 a.m. each weekday.
I love to run. I love to race. I love to push myself to my limits and test my mental and physical abilities.
But what I love most about running is the community and camaraderie of the sport. For me the running community is the single most important aspect of the sport.
And we have an incredible running community in St. Louis. I’m floored every weekend by the amount of people participating in Big River’s training team. What is even more impressive though is the spirit of joy and friendship of those involved.
Over the past year, I’ve met a number of amazing people through running. I’ve made new friends and strengthened ties with old friends.
Contrary to popular belief, running is not an individual sport. We rely upon our teammates, running partners, volunteers, and crowd supporters to get us through the good days and the bad.
Too often, we focus on a specific goal, whether it is time, distance, or weight, and often, we fall short and are disappointed. I’m guilty of it every time I toe the line. No matter how fast I race or how well I place, I always come away a little disappointed.
Fortunately, I have a running community to support me and pick me up. After my most recent race, where I fell short of an elusive time goal once again, a friend was quick to remind me that we do not participate in this sport for just one day!
Running is more than “exercise” and “racing.” Running is about developing a community of friends and family over the course of a lifetime.
Editor’s Note: Marshall just won the MO’ Cowbell Marathon last weekend with a time of 2:42:01. Congrats, Marshall.