It all began last July when 413 issued a challenge to train and run a half marathon (13.1 miles) trail race together called the Rugged Red (RR). At that time it seemed like it was no big deal and just another race so I said yes. About a week or so later we had an informational meeting about training, nutrition, hydration, etc. and each person in attendance was asked what their goal for the RR would be. All I remember saying is, “Beat Blake and average a 10 minute pace per mile.” Easy right?
The first training run was followed by a pool party and at that moment and at that party I realized this race was going to be about way more than my performance. With each conversation came more clarity that it was about community and encouraging each other to get 1% better each week leading up to the race. Every Saturday we traveled to a park, forest or woods where we could run or hike trails together. We had some great training days working hard, sweating a lot and enjoying each other’s company. It wasn’t long before I started looking forward to the next 413 workout and then the next Saturday run which repeated for several weeks prior to race weekend.
With each conversation came more clarity that it was about community and encouraging each other to get 1% better each week…Mark S.
When race weekend came the group was SO ready to head down to Red River Gorge. I was anxious and a little nervous since I had not run a race in almost a decade. I knew the trails were challenging and didn’t feel I had the best plan on how to handle the terrain. We arrived the day before at our cabin and I could tell everyone was excited. We woke up early the next morning ready to run and did we ever. It was a great day filled with uphills, downhills, rocks and tree roots. Many of us fell and climbed back up on our feet again finishing the race. In the end, there was some tired souls, sore legs, some bloodshed and yes even some stitches.
For me, the RR was much more than a race. Looking back, I was able to complete a goal that was definitely outside my comfort zone. But more important was the 413 community who encouraged, pushed and transformed each other as we all strived to get 1% better. At 413 we believe fitness as a journey, not a destination. I was reminded that training and running the Rugged Red was just a small part of the journey, but so much more was the blessing of memories created throughout the journey. The blessing where I was able to experience and share my fitness journey with some other remarkable people, who in turn shared part of theirs with me. I was encouraged and remain grateful for the experience and look forward to our next RR in 2020. Will you join us in sharing this experience together?