Two weeks before Tim’s 50th state marathon, he fell—twice—on the icy roads of Missoula. The 14 days before a race are usually held sacred for planning and preparation—short and long runs, mental strategy, and so on. This time, however, they were filled with physical therapy, acupuncture, massage therapy, and medication. Still, Tim’s back was not healing sufficiently to run a marathon. Normally he would have canceled and rescheduled when his body had recovered, but this race was different.
For the previous two years, 40 people had been planning to travel to the race to watch, cheer, and celebrate Tim’s achievement of this 25-year goal. As each person arrived, Becky—his number-one supporter, manager, and hydration provider, as well as his wife—solemnly reported that her husband might not run. Tim succinctly explained, “I haven’t run since the accident two weeks ago.”
The day before the event, Tim took his first run with friends and fellow racers to test his ability to compete. That evening, upbeat but cautious, he announced that his body was responding adequately enough to run the race. His goal of finishing the marathon would remain the same, though he would adjust his objectives during the race as necessary.
For runners such as Tim, each race has intermediate goals or objectives. If you believe you can win, of course, you stay focused on what that takes, but other objectives might include such things as running a personal best time or powering through a particularly tough section of the course.
By mile 18 the next day, the injuries that Tim had suffered two weeks prior were having a significant effect, and he questioned whether his body would be able to carry him to the finish line. That is when strategy, mental toughness, years of preparation, and friendship took over. Andy and Eric, two friends who were running alongside Tim, stepped into the important roles of coaching and supporting. Their focus shifted from running their own best times to helping Tim make it across the finish line. Rather than achieving their own personal best times, Andy and Eric ran their most memorable races ever because of their efforts to support their friend. Tim finished the marathon, thus accomplishing an incredible 25-year athletic achievement—and all three men were winners.
Currently we are all in what seems like a never-ending race. We struggle to see the finish line, each section of our course seems tough, and we too question if someone is going to need to carry us along the way. However, it is during this race that we have seen teachers, administrators, coaches, consultants, authors, and parents join forces to help each other make it to the finish line. Collaboration is strong, resources are being shared, and we are coming together for our students and each other.
In my opinion, that makes us winners already – even if the finish line has yet to be determined.
During this uncertain time, we will continue to connect with you through our Tip each Friday providing you an inspirational story and resources that can be used in a school setting or adapted to meet your students’ needs at home or virtually. If you have an idea that you would like to share, email us here. Together, we will continue learning so that we are ready when we return to school with our students. ❤️