I woke up this morning and dragged myself out of the house against my own will. I didn't really want to walk, but I skipped my walk yesterday, so I really had to.
My usual destination for my walks is the Big Dam Bridge. It was very foggy out this morning, and it was so eerie driving up to the bridge. Until I was very close, it looked like the bridge wasn't there, it was totally swallowed up by the fog.
There were many, many more people out on a cold foggy Sunday morning than usual. But today was a special day, the Run for Jacob.
Jacob was the race director for the Three Bridges Marathon (3B26) and a huge part of the local running community. He went into cardiac arrest during a marathon last weekend and died earlier this week. Today was supposed to be the pre-run for 3B26, but turned into a memorial run for Jacob instead.
I did not know Jacob, myself. I did read an article on him that talked about him cheering at the last race I did and I realized I actually remembered him. Out of all the supporters there, he stuck out to me. He was out there cheering, calling us by the names on our bibs and offering high 5's. By the time I pass people cheering, they've gotten a little tired and it often shows, but not him. He was well known as being an enthusiastic cheerleader for everyone, his high 5's, and for running shirtless more often than not.
During my 7 mile walk, I always had at least one purple 3B26 race shirt in sight. There were far more shirtless men running than there normally would be on a very chilly morning. I was rarely alone on any part of the trail. I thought it was great that so many people turned out to honor this guy.
The best part though was the mood out there. Everyone is generally friendly on the trails anyway, but today it was just so much more so. Not just the normal nods or smiles in passing, but a lot of greetings, like everyone knew each other. A lot of random encouragements being tossed about. And high 5's. I got 5 of them. It sounds like such a simple, small gesture, but it doesn't feel that way at all. It's encouragement, and, to me at least, acceptance. I'm not really a runner, but I'm still one of them. That's something that I haven't gotten used to yet.
Between the amazing beauty of the fog and autumn colors, and the beauty of the people out on the trails, this was much more than just a walk, it was a much needed boost to my spirit.
Thank you, Jacob. I didn't know you, but you have touched me.