Recently, I was able to join the BOPers in Frenchtown for a very chilly run with soup to follow at the home of Kevin and Carol Drake. It was only the second time I was able to meet up for their monthly get-togethers, as ranch life with hungry critters complicates our comings and goings. But Frenchtown is too close (I live outside of Alberton) not to join up with the group. And this time, I had company in the form of my wife Sue and two granddaughters who were joining Grandma on a walk while I ran. Unfortunately the weather made both a little tricky.
A temperature of 15 degrees with a little breeze in a wide open space made for some brisk running as groups of runners gulped frigid air, all in a hurry for some promised soup. I set off with a couple of other runners but quickly decided the their run/walk strategy was not going to serve me as I needed to build up some body heat quickly. Running down the pedestrian path paralleling the highway, I broke off at the first road that led up into the mountains.
The sun was just beginning to set as I enjoyed the last light of the day. Running to the foot-hills I disturbed a herd of eight deer. After some hesitation they ran across my road back to the cover of forest. The last and largest doe stopped shortly off the road and turned back to more closely watch the interloper. It was just past this point that I decided to turn back; she continued to watch as I ran back down the road. The sun dipped below the western ridge and almost immediately it felt colder. By the time I returned to the car and my freezing family ice crystals coated my beard.
I had come hoping to enjoy the company of other runners but camaraderie had to wait until the get-together afterwards. Back at our host’s home we found lively conversation and plenty of good food. I knew only a couple members of the group but immediately felt like I was with good friends. We ate our chili and soup and plenty of other shared tasty member contributions, and talked and laughed at each other’s stories. We chatted about running and life in general and enjoyed the warmth of our conversation.
In the course of the get together, I learned that runners were there for all the varied reasons that people run. Some were in the spell of running and enjoyed each chance to run. Others simply wanted to stay fit. To recover from some injury. To lose weight, to strengthen the heart. But what I realized was that we all had one thing in common – the need to gather to enjoy each other’s company, the social aspect of running.