Bib #44 – Grand Ridge Trail 5 Mile
I remember learning about Rosa Parks as a child. A simplistic story of a black woman who refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger, and it started a civil rights movement. As a child, I thought it was a story about a moment of strength. It was not until I got older that I learned the full story. That Rosa Parks got in physical fights as a child to protect herself, and was an active member of the NAACP a dozen years before she rode that Montgomery bus. It was a moment of strength that brought Rosa Parks to the country’s attention, but it was a life of strength that put her on the bus in the first place.
I was reminded of this today while running with Kelly Herron.
Google her, and pick one of dozens of results to learn how, while training for her first marathon earlier this year, she was attacked in a Seattle park public bathroom. Fighting for her life, all the while shouting “Not today, motherf**ker!,” Kelly escaped, stitched and bruised, and shared her story on social media. It went viral. Women and runners everywhere, including me, talked about “that runner in Seattle” and her moment of strength.
Through profiles in Women’s Running, and through social media, Kelly and I connected online shortly before she completed the Chicago Marathon in October. But, given we are two strong women runners living in the same city, it made sense only that we would do one thing together: we would run.
This race was not my longest or my toughest. It was on a course I’d run before, in weather stereotypical for Seattle in fall. But Race #44 was special. Over the course of the race, Kelly and I talked about running and working, the people we used to be and the people we are now. We cursed and we laughed, often at the same time. And as we crossed the finish line, Kelly’s first trail race completed, I realized that it was a moment of strength that thrust Kelly into the public conscious, but a life of strength that put her in that park in the first place. And I am honored she shared 5 miles worth of that extraordinary life with me.