The World Through My Shoes is my look at living this incredible gift God has given us. As a busy wife, mother and daughter I relish the alone time I receive on my early morning runs. It is in the stillness of those predawn mornings where I often am inspired. Thank you for taking the time to read my words.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Man Named Bob

The road lay long in front of me.  His bright yellow singlet stood in stark contrast to the mundane grey of the road.  With his shoulders slightly bent, his gait spoke of the years he has lived.  I had to catch up to him and hear his story.

My pace quickened from a walk to a jog.  Despite perfect running weather, a gorgeous marathon course and friends all around, it was not a good race day for me.  My mind was willing and yet my body didn’t respond.  Looking at my watch, realization sunk in and I let race day hopes flutter away.  Alone on the course I was left to my private hell, trying hard to pull myself out of the funk I was in.  I reminded myself it is the distance I love and to enjoy every moment of it.

Once I had caught up to him, I began to walk matching my pace to his.  I turned to him and spoke.

“Excuse me sir, are you Bob?”

His smile spread across his face, and stated, “Why yes I am”.

“It is a real pleasure to meet you.” Shaking his hand I told him my name and that I too was a member of the Marathon Maniacs.  Exchanging pleasantries, we talked of the race and how beautiful the course is.  Bob was walking the entire distance and hoped to finish before the cut off time of 8 hours. 

“I’m not sure that will happen.” He said with a grin.

When asked questions about his longevity running marathons, he quickly turned the conversation from himself and with a sparkle in his eye he told me of all that his wife Lenora does.   Bob spoke of her with the love and admiration.  He made me want to meet her.

Bob continued to speak informing me of the marathons he would be doing next as well as all the work he, and Lenora, contributes to directing the Yakima River Canyon Marathon.   My eyes lit up when he told me that I was sharing in his 492nd marathon.  At 82 years old, it was clear he lived his life not only by it's breadth but also it's depth.  He told me of the plans to celebrate his 500th race at his marathon in Yakima on March 31st next year.  The joy was uncontainable in his smile.

“You are such an inspiration Bob”.  With an unmistaken humbleness in his voice, he softly said, “Thank you”.  We said our farewells and I moved on ahead.  

Not many times in life do we stop to notice the extraordinary in the ordinary.  Walking down the street Bob is an unassuming man, most would never know of all he has done or continues to do.  Yet I, because of a less than great race day, was blessed to meet him and inspiration comes when least expected.  My pace quickened, my attitude adjusted.  I was again falling in love with the distance, and it was due to a man named Bob.

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