Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cheering for Runners

A little over two years ago (I am a bad triathlete and I missed our two year running anniversary, it was on April 12th), you probably wouldn't have found us waking up at 5:45am to go cheer for someone running a marathon. 

But, on Sunday that's exactly what we did.

That's the back of my head (I may or may not have showered), cheering for Sheila!

We have gotten to know some amazing people through running, just one of the many things that has changed for the better in our life since we became triathletes, and we try as hard as possible to support them in their endeavors, as they do in ours.  

Just yesterday I was sitting with Amber, one of my greatest friends in this world - someone I wouldn't even know if it wasn't for running, and I was getting a little emotional thinking about who has come to support us during our races and how much it has meant.  While we didn't have people physically there at Cleveland, believe me some people would have been there if they could have, we had people cheering us on from all over the country.  Our Facebook pages were blowing up during the race, and after.

When Eric suggested the concept of "Sherpas for Shme", Shme is Sheila's nickname, we jumped at the opportunity.  At one week post-marathon for us, it was the perfect timing and the perfect inspiration.  

Sherpas for Shme was simple, Eric wanted as many people as possible to come cheer for Sheila at the Buffalo Marathon and keep it a surprise.

Mike and I made signs the night before, one personalized and one not, and planned out our cheering route for the day.  Side note - making the signs was a bit of an adventure since THREE of our markers died in the process, and we had to use a dry erase marker as a last resort. 

People LOVED the sign

On marathon morning, as we stood at mile 7.5/mile 11 (this was an out and back portion of the race) waiting for Sheila, our sign started to get recognition.  People smiled and it made me feel good that hopefully we were making a difference in someone's race. Mike also started to offer high fives and one person remarked that his was the first high five they had been offered!

Still a little sleepy, but ready to cheer!

Then, I saw her! Sheila was making her way toward us and we gave a loud cheer for her! She later said she liked the victory lap sign, and then noticed her personalized "Shme" sign.  She was pleasantly surprised that we were there.

After she came back, we quickly (and also went the wrong way a little bit) got to our next cheering spot.  Mike continued to offer high fives to runners, and the runners were loving it!

Mr. High Five guy, as he was called

We saw a few of the same runners at each location, and we started to get called out on it.  It was nice to know that not only did we help surprise Sheila but we also helped some other runners in the process.

 Last cheering spot around mile 22

Having people cheering for you at races can make a HUGE difference.  Until this year we haven't had many people come to our races, and we are used to doing them "alone" (yes we are always there together, but we can't really support each other while we are racing).  However, it also feels good when people are there showing us that what we do matters.

I guess my point is this: take a break from what you want to do every once in awhile and go support people who are pursuing their goals and dreams.  It's worth it!  

21 comments:

  1. I love volunteering and helping out for races. It's definitely great to give back!

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  2. Volunteering makes me smile. It's giving back for all the hugs, high fives and cheers I have gotten in races over the years.

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  3. I've done several races both ways (with my family there to cheer and without) and it definitely is WAY better when they are there. Last year my daughter even kept my splits info for a tri I did that only gave you the finish time. How cool is that?!

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  4. Thank you SO MUCH for coming out to Buffalo to cheer - It was just what she needed to get her through those tough stretches! You guys are great!!

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  5. What a great experience! Sheila must have LOVED it! Such awesome things come from the running community :)

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  6. Absolutely! I volunteer at fitness competitions and I love being a part of it all!

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  7. I totally agree and love this - I need to get out and cheer more often. :)

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  8. Totally agree! I had my own experience cheering for Cleveland Marathon 2 weeks ago! Too bad I didn't know you were there. We were at miles 5, 11, & 19. 19 was so quiet! Hopefully you saw our craziness at some point!

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  9. Looks like yall had a blast and I'm sure Sheila appreciated it!

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  10. LOVE that you guys came all the way to Buffalo to cheer me on! I was super surprised, and it was definitely a great pick-me-up seeing you so many times! :) Thanks again!

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  11. Spectating races is so much fun! I can't wait to volunteer at Ironman Lake Placid and cheer on everyone!

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  12. It looks like you had such a great time. I haven't honestly cheered a lot of races (I do more when I'm injured) but it is always such a different experience cheering on racers!

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  13. You are a fantastic friend!
    I love cheering spectators. Both my halls in toronto were amazing experiences. So many strangers that would read your bib and call you out and cheer for you. Especially the scotia bank waterfront half- in the poring rain!

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  14. Ahh! I just love the running community for this very support! You are such a sweetheart - and I LOVE the signs!

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  15. Good for you for being there! I spectated Chicago last fall and it is a BLAST! All of the fun without the stress and nerves.

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  16. Spectating the Fox Cities marathon last year was one of the highlights of my life. Seriously. Watching people reach their goals and earn EVERY SECOND of glory was so inspiring that I'd like to do it myself... I finished a 100 mile century bike ride in September, have my first tri slated for August, and am considering a half marathon at the close of the year! It's incredible the enthusiasm you can pull from other people---just by being there for them. As strangers!

    Sarah
    www.thinfluenced.com

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  17. Love this!! I went to cheer for my brother last month and had the time of my life screaming my face off for all the runners! We all know how much we appreciate that, and it was fun to be on the other side for once! Way to get out there and show the support!

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  18. Best time I ever had at a race was cheering at the 18k point of the Scotia Toronto Marathon/Half Marathon last year. So much fun!

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  19. The spectators in Nashville were all that got me through. I thought if they can stand out here and cheer in the pouring rain I can do this. Cheering makes a huge difference.

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  20. Love this! I have to admit, I've never held a sign in a race... yikes! I need to make that happen. :)

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