Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday Inspiration

I have this picture pinned to my wall at work because it inspires me:

It was taken at the starting line of the 2010 More Magazine Women's Half Marathon in NYC. I saw it in an early 2011 issue of More Magazine, advertising the 2011 race, and I tore it out. I recognized the woman on the far right as Sally Meyerhoff -- known in the running world for her pink compression socks, bright outfits, and long red braids. A three-time collegiate All-American, she later set the American record for 10 miles, and won lots of road races. She won the 2010 More Magazine Women's Half Marathon, and was going to go back to defend her title in 2011. She had also won the 2011 Arizona Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in January of that year. But on March 8, 2011, she was killed when struck by a truck while riding her bike. I like to think of Sally running in her pink socks with her braids flying out behind her.

Next to her is Colleen De Reuck, who finished second in the race.

And then next to Colleen is Bronawyn O'Leary, wearing bib number 603.

If Bronawyn ever reads this (yeah, doubtful, I know) -- I really mean no disrespect here. But I have to admit that, looking at the picture, I thought, "Oh, dear, #603 has lined up in the wrong spot."

Here's why:

1. Colleen and Sally both have "name" bibs, rather than number bibs. (The mark of the expected winner in a big race...)
2. Colleen and Sally both have obvious sponsor marks on them -- Colleen is wearing Nike product, while Sally has a Brooks singlet on.
3. Colleen and Sally are chattering away. #603 looks nervous and is stretching.

4. Colleen looks like a distance runner. #603 looks like, well, me. 

I've been to enough events that I have seem people who have no business lining up in front, lining up in front. And -- please forgive me Bronawyn -- I assumed you were just eager and ready to run. Perhaps TOO eager...

Out of curiosity, I looked up how #603 had finished. To my surprise and chagrin, Bronawyn O'Leary had finished in FOURTH place. I ended up doing a little more research about Ms. O'Leary -- she is a teacher and now an Assistant Principal who has won plenty of races herself. She is Very Fast. 

Bronawyn reminds me that runners -- even elite runners -- aren't all whippet thin. Wow, that sounds terrible. But what I mean is that you can't judge a book by its cover... that you can be fast without looking like Paula freakin Radcliffe. 

I think I should stop typing now. Bronawyn, I just want you to know that you inspire me. And that I think it's a good thing. Even if everything I'm typing sounds like an insult somehow...


  1. Well it took a long time but I came across this post of yours! I am the not so famous Bronawyn OLeary! No, I am not skinny and clearly not as fast as Sally was (Lord rest her soul) or Colleen but I put the work in and do my best! Running is not my career it is my passion. Glad my chubby short legs could inspire and remind us that runners come in all shapes and sizes!

  2. Oh yeah...freezing and impatient not nervous! Lol. Also beyond excited next to Colleen and sally