Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet Simon Wheatcroft. If you are a regular in the Runkeeper community, you have already read his story and hopefully followed his journey as he ran from the Runkeeper offices in Boston to Central Park in Manhattan to warm up for the New York Marathon. (Yeah, I needed to let that sink in for a moment, too!) I’d briefly learned about Simon’s story from a couple of folks at Runkeeper but hearing Simon explain in his own words, the details of learning to run without the handy convenience of sight, brought up a mixture of emotions in me that I am still trying to tease out.
Let me explain a bit about myself. I have been a part of the Runkeeper adventure since day one. If you are reading this, then chances are we have had at least a one-way conversation. Mine is the voice you hear in your ear buds updating you on your distance and time as you grind through your activity. Yes indeed I am a living, breathing person delivering audio cues, and not a composite robot voice.
I absolutely love being the voice of Runkeeper, but it wasn’t until meeting Simon and some other Runkeeper users last week that I realized just how lucky I am to call myself a part of the Runkeeper community.
As Simon spoke to our group of about twenty or so, I stood awestruck by the complete tenacity of his spirit and desire to succeed. He told the story of an experience after which he vowed never again to fail at something, simply because he couldn’t see. He then went on to discuss how my voice in his ears and using Runkeeper to train helped him adapt and become a badass ultra runner. As I cleared my throat and blinked repeatedly so as not to show that I was about to burst into tears, I couldn’t help but feel slightly ashamed that I had skipped a workout that very morning just to sleep in.
Then I remembered something magical about being a part of the Runkeeper community.
We are in this to build each other up, motivate, and support each other. [tweet this]
Those I’ve met in our community don’t want people to feel guilty or less than, we want people to feel strong and confident. I realized that if Simon could get past being legally blind in order to achieve his goals, than I could easily get past feeling crappy about skipping a single workout and continue striving to reach mine.
The next day I laced up my running shoes and got outside, like so many of you do each and every single day. I thought about Simon, at that point running through Connecticut on his way to New York. I thought about Dawn, another RK community member who told me she jumped for joy in the middle of the street when my voice announced that she’d run five miles for the very first time in her life. I thought about the millions of you who hear my voice each and every day as you create new goals, accomplish long held ones, or just get outside to try something new.
As I continued to run, I was overwhelmed by gratitude and a sense of connection to something much larger than my run for that day, or meeting Simon the night before. Our community is tightly woven together by the desire to achieve, inspire, and spread positivity. Together we make up an amazing group of people, and we would not be here without each other. I want to personally thank you, (yes you reading this right now!) for your support, your stories, and your inspiration. I am truly thankful to be a part of this incredible Runkeeper adventure, and look forward to meeting more of you in the future. Now, it’s time to lace up again. I’ll see you out there!