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“If you want to run fast, run alone. If you want to go far-run with with others.” ~ someone smart on the internet 

by Leslie Sloan

This quote has meant a lot to me this past year. 

I trained and ran the Boston Marathon alone in April. Boston was a life goal and I finished. But it wasn’t what I hoped for because I ran by myself. 

I also ran the Asheville Half Marathon at Biltmore Estate with a team of friends and ran the Berlin Marathon with my best friend and both races were life giving and joyful. I didn’t care about the clock one time during either of those races. I simply enjoyed the race and loved running with my friends. 

In the Berlin Marathon, my friend Amy and I purposely planned to simply complete the race and have the best time running this race. What did I come away from this race having learned?  

  • Focus on holding a good conversation & enjoy the sites.
  • Work Hard. Fatigue will set in. A relaxed runner will enjoy the day better than one who believes everyone is counting on them to FINISH THE GOAL. 
  • Don’t overthink during the race. You have put in the work. Let your body carry you through. 
  • Forward IS a pace! If you just keep moving forward you will get to the finish line! 
  • Wear your medal for the FULL day after a race. There is NO JEWELRY store on the planet that sells this kind of bling. You have to run to EARN this kind of necklace!

Running with others can be challenging–especially now that we are so isolated with social media. Adult work is very isolating as we tend to be by ourselves most days and we can be fooled into thinking that this is comfortable.

Running in a group forces you to set up “running dates”, run at different paces than you would naturally gravitate to, causes you to talk about new things and ask questions of others because the miles are awkward and long without conversation! 

The best parts of running with others is the sense of companionship on the run, seeing and laughing at the same things at the SAME TIME, and there are more sets of eyes helping you find a bathroom when you need one! 

When the going gets tough, friends provide a built in cheering squad! It’s not a question of if the race is going to get hard, but when? Running for completion and having a friend or two running with you means that you have someone to help you through the rough patches. 

Last year — during the Asheville Half Marathon on Saturday — one of our runners had lost touch with the group she had been running with. She was in a particularly hard section of the race and needed a mental boost. One of our teammates stepped in and ran the final two miles with her and she finished the race just six months after giving birth to her first child. Quite an accomplishment! Highlight of the year! 

I learned so much watching my teammate finish her race last year. And I love the finish line of every race because it holds so much hope! It feels just like crossing the finish line into Heaven. I truly believe is a beautiful picture for us. 

If you are a competitive sort or hitting the line for completion, keep walking after the race and get your medal…take pictures and get exploring with friends! Take in the surroundings. Pay attention to how you feel. Cross the finish line with a hug, tears and a proclamation. 

Hold on to this feeling! You DID IT! One of the best parts of the Asheville Marathon and Half at Biltmore Estate is the photo back-drops, the farm, Antler Hill Village, and the pass to the Biltmore Estate for the rest of the day!

Take advantage! Take everything in! You completed this race and earned all the glory. Think about how far you have come. Not many people have finished a race and you should be proud of yourself.

Listen to the cheers and thank the volunteers. Use all your senses. This really is a glorious moment and truly the reason I come back race after race.

Leslie Sloan is an Asheville Marathon & Half Ambassador. Read more about Danielle and the rest of our 2020 ambassadors by clicking here

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