I have loved the Missoula Marathon ever since running the half in its inaugural year. Then I volunteered for a couple of years. The past three years, however, have been the best for me. Since 2011, marathon day has capped off six months of training for the Galloway marathon-half marathon class I coach with John Pitcairn. Using Jeff Galloway’s trademarked “run-walk-run” approach to distance we tend to attract newer and injury-prone runners. When the class begins, many participants cannot imagine crossing the finish line. Then it happens!
Each year, most of our class members meet the goal in July that they set in January or March. They run the race. They cross the finish line. They receive a medal. Their names and times are listed in the results. They pose for pictures. They post their happiness on Facebook. They celebrate with family and friends.
Each year, other class members do not succeed in the terms they set at the start. They are injured or sick and cheer from the sidelines. They volunteer. They stay home or travel because families need them that day. They work because they cannot get the day off. They postpone this goal because other demands have disrupted their training.
As the training program coach, I am as proud of the second group as the first. Every single class member has risen to the bold midwinter challenge of testing themselves against the prospect
of running long. Each member has come through a unique personal journey. Each member has contributed in his or her own way to the journeys of others. It has been a remarkable individual effort, and an even-more remarkable collective effort.
I am inspired to paraphrase the verse from Ecclesiastes, hummed to the tune added much later by Pete Seeger.
To everything (run-walk-run) there is a season (run-walk-run), and a time for every purpose under heaven.
* A time to learn and a time to test.
* A time to hurt and a time to heal.
* A time to fall and a time to rise.
* A time to cry and a time to smile.
* A time to love, a time to be loved…to help and to be helped.
I celebrate a remarkable season of building endurance and community one week and one mile at a time. Over the past three years, the Galloway program has grown from 65 to 150 participants. We will start the 2014 training season in January (marathon) and March (half). I look forward to an exciting mix of returning and new faces. Maybe yours?
by Pam Gardiner
Missoula Galloway Training Program Director