Running in Memory


(image from Premier Sports.)

Memorial Day marks many things: maybe the end of school; definitely the start of summer; the day the fashionistas officially condone wearing white; races like the Bolder Boulder; and, most importantly, a chance to remember those who have served and are serving our country.

I know a race—any race from a 5K to a 100-miler—doesn't even come to close to dedication and devotion it takes to serve in the military., but running brings me as close as I can come to their experience. Even when I ran by young men and women training on the run, as I used to quite often when I lived in Colorado Springs, I saw their heavy black boots and full on uniforms and neat formations and discipline and thought, this is probably the easy part of their day, and I'm hoping for a downhill coast from here.

Yet we were out there running, albeit in very different circumstances, together. And that somehow connected us. Not sure what they thought of me as they ran past, but I was all respect and awe for them. And I wondered, as a civilian only can, about what their life is like in the military. How do they deal with their fears? How rigorous are their lives? What does it feel like to wear a uniform?

A story worth listening to; link is below. (Picture from Story Corps)
A story worth listening to; link is below. (Picture from Story Corps)

Running provides me the space to actually think about those questions for more than a minute. Today on my run, I couldn't get the piece I heard on Story Corps this weekend of a Lance Corporal who was the only one of his 12-platoon squad to survive an attack in Iraq. (The line of thought that jolted me most: that he was most proud, at this point in his own life, of not blowing his own head off. He knew he had to do his best to seize that second chance that he'd been given, and that killing himself would have not accomplished anything.) I can't even pretend to know an ounce of what he has gone through, but I am very grateful that my rhythmic steps give me the time to think about it and to be in awe of his service—and the daily sacrifice he's gone through since 2005.

We want to take to today to pledge our gratitude to all our selfless military women and men who live the life we can barely imagine, and who have served our country and our families. We know many mother runners are connected to the military, and we are so appreciative of you and your spouses. Thank you doesn't cover it, but it's the best we can offer here.

And, on a personal note, we also want to thank our beloved sport of running that gives us the focused and important opportunity to hold them in our thoughts and prayers.

8 responses to “Running in Memory

  1. Thank you so much for this post! My husband and I are both in the WA State Air National Guard. I am new to the service (5 years now) and have not yet seen the horrors of warfare. As for so many who serve, however, it is in the family and my predecessors have been in many of the situations you hear so much about. We take advantage of the sports the military offers (National Guard Marathon Team- husband and I, National Guard Biathlon team- husband, and Air Force Triathlon team- husband) and run each race for those who have fallen and to demonstrate that our military is a mighty force.

  2. As a military spouse, running helps ease so many stresses that come along with this lifestyle. But, for the longest time I just wanted to keep up with all the running my Soldier does TOO!

    This is a great post!!!

  3. As a retired military member and combat vet, thank you for posting this. I often say – I run for those who no longer can and for those who never came home.
    God Bless America and our Troops!

  4. Thank you! As a Mom who serves active duty in the US Air Force, thank you, and not just for this post, but fopr this tribe. My life seems so different sometimes…I work full time, my husband is a stay at home dad, my kids ask when our next move is and never truly let themsleves settle down, it is normal for them for me to be out of town for weeks at time, I’m the only female in my unit, etc. But being a mother runner makes me feel like finally I share something with other moms, that I have something in common with them. Thank you for that! You ladies are awesome and my hat is off to you.

  5. Thank you for posting this. I am retiring from the Army on Thursday after 27 years of service (31, if you count my years as a West Point cadet). I cringe when I hear people say “Happy Memorial Day.” It has been a difficult decade for so many servicemen and their families. Simply, I run because I can.

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