Today was the Wednesday group run's last day of "summer" running. Next week with the start of school the group will move to a 9 a.m. start for the run, versus the 7:30 a.m. start we have been doing. I am really looking forward to this shift, because for me it means that I can make the run with regularity again. For the better part of three months, with summer school and then no school, I have mostly had to bow out of the Wednesday runs. The timing just didn't work out for me. However, with the school year starting, that will no longer be an issue.
With the end of season comes a kind of changing of the guard. While I, and another lady who runs regularly during the school year, will be able to make it, two others who are teachers and can only come during June, July, and August have had to say their good-byes until the next school vacation allows them to attend.
While this is all bittersweet, it reminds me that this is part of what is so lovely about running. More than anything else in my life - any hobby or circle of friends - running has allowed me the joy of being able to get to know a wide variety of people from all walks of life. There are teachers, engineers, politicians, retirees, stay-at-home-moms. There are hunters and vegetarians; Republicans and Democrats. Any polar opposites you can think of, they are represented somewhere in the running community. And, while I may not agree with everything a person does in his or her private life or understand everything that he or she may stand for, if we can run together at an amicable pace, then typically we can get along just fine.
Runners and the running community is my "tribe," if you will, the group of people with whom I get along most. There seems to be something about tying your running shoes and heading out the door that allows a person to leave everything else behind. When we are all huffing and puffing in the chill winter air, or gasping for breath in a summer sauna, there is only one thing that matters - do you love running? And can you talk to and accept other people who love running too? For the most part, the answer is yes.