What force drives some people to be running long distance races when they are grandparents? Why are they cross-training on the stationary bikes at the gym and doing weight lifting boot camps? These two training partners were at the local YMCA when I asked them for some feedback on these questions.
Jim is a grandfather. He runs marathons and other long distance events and has been doing it for years. He is the unofficial but true leader of a loosely organized running group that has blossomed in the past few years. There is no coach, just friends who encourage each other. They share their plans for runs using a Facebook page to coordinate starting times and running routes and distance goals for training runs throughout the week. They share articles about running, training, food and inspiration. They invite more people to join them and then they share advice, their time and encouragement with each other. No one needs to run alone because there is someone who is willing to go.
Molly is a grandmother. She started training with Jim’s group a few years back and has worked her way up to competing in 5 and 10K distance running events. In her 70’s, Molly is a new runner. She inspires many in this group as she perseveres through all of the typical runner issues like sore muscles, bones and joint, colds and even a fall at the finish line last year that gave her scrapes and a big goose egg.
They started listing off more reasons and explanations than I could keep up with so I will only touch on a few of their responses.
What motivates you to do all of this work?
Jim: “I sign up for a race well in advance so it is on the calendar and I know I have to be ready for it”
Molly: ”I do it to be healthy and keep a good weight.”
Jim: “There are people who depend on me to do this. I got here this morning and there was a person grabbing me and insisting I run with her so she would get her run in.”
Molly: “I need this for my mental health”
Jim: “I’ve got to set an example for people, my kids and grandkids. They see me doing this and they do it too.”
Molly: “My blood pressure stays down.”
Jim: “This keeps us going. You know, this is good stuff!”
Molly: “The friends. It’s so great to encourage each other.”
These are great reasons to train and workout and compete. They had several more that I couldn’t hold in my memory long enough to put in this post.
Please share with us. I would love to hear the motivation behind your participation in running, swimming, or any sport or physical activity. What drives you to train? Please leave your comments to share with my readers.
Lynn Benson is the Managing Member of Benson Products, LLC and a retired Physical Education teacher, former Aquatic Supervisor, and the mother of 3 and grandmother of 7. Lynn is the inventor of Splash Count TM sports clock, scoreboard and counter. This article is based on her observations and opinion.