Runner | Racer
The wait for the gun. The smell of the pavement wet with morning dew.
Racing is what made me fall in love with running. Before my first race (Rocky Run 2014) I was just running to get ready for that race. I actually hated running before that, but at some pointed decided it was worth a shot. I tried for a little bit but struggled to stay motivated… until I found something to work towards. I remember thinking it was so cool that I was running in a race and spending too long trying to figure out how to take a decent picture of myself running (still don’t know how) for the typical #5ktraining posts. At that time running felt so punk rock to me. It still feels punk rock.
Believe it or not, running has only become more subculture. Some people might argue that it’s always been subculture. There’s these superstar runners like Pre and Scott Jurek that you feel like should be way more famous than they are but somehow manage to stay underground, that give you the feeling of going against the grain whenever you talk about them. Those guys weren’t just runners, they were racers. They were superstars because they went out there to conquer whatever feat seemed even remotely attainable. Not because they ran 5 miles every morning just to stay trim and healthy.
Let’s roll back a little to the thing I said about conquering. It’s 2019 and conquering doesn’t hold the same weight it used to ages ago. Conquering is an action relative to each person and their experiences and that’s a really good thing. We are all born with and continue to encounter different challenges that will shape our lives into the stories they are, so we must recognize that not everything is possible for everyone. That in turn redefines impossible by showing us we all have things that are attainable when certain steps are taken over time and we should celebrate the steps just as much as the accomplishment.
I saw a quote on a Bob Ross gif that said, “Talent is a pursued interest. In other words, anything that you’re willing to practice, you can do.” I never bothered to verify if he said that, but the quote stuck anyway. Some people are born with talents and others have to work to build talents. When the talent is apparent, it doesn’t matter one bit how the person got it. That, I think, is one of the roots of the modern running boom. Accomplishing what at one time seemed impossible lifts peoples spirits to a level that actually makes them winners over their own perception of their abilities.
Soooooo what’s the point? The point is the easiest way that I, along with countless others, can get that conquering feeling is by crossing a finish line. It’s not the best run every single time, but that’s part of the reason why we keep signing up for more opportunities to try. Racing is a solid way to gauge your progress while receiving a healthy dose of serotonin. It’s become apparent that we are a culture that seeks instant gratification in almost every life scenario. That’s why the most recent global running boom started not long after races started giving out finisher medals. The people of modern western society need to feel like what they did is just as or almost as important as the top winners and event producers found the perfect way to cash in on that. While I bear no judgement on the people that run for medals, personally, I don’t think they’re responding to that totally normal human need in the best way. That’s a conversation for another time though.
High fives from random kids on the course. High fives from the crew at the finish line.
You know about Run Vineland Crew? You should learn about Run Vineland Crew. One of the strongest binding forces of the crew is going to races together. It’s a social event, a workout, and even a road trip all wrapped in one package. In the last month or so alone, RVC has traveled to Wildwood, Hammonton, Avalon, and Pitman. In the Fall we’ll even cross state lines for the Freedom’s March Half/Full in Valley Forge. We’re showing up, we’re having fun, and we’re even doing pretty good.
“The first time I passed someone in a race I got such a rush. Been chasing that rush ever since.” - Marc M
RVC is a little competitive when we race. Although every now and then we get some of our crew in the top 10, dominating age groups is our specialty. With a fairly diverse age range, it’s a rare occasion that most of the crew isn’t at least going home with AG awards. Having a team to race with and motivate me has completely changed how I approach racing. I’ve been pushing myself so much harder than I ever have. I used to start in the middle or back of the pack, but now I’m right up front with my boys because I want feed off the energy that we bounce off of each other.
“For me it’s not always about winning, but the crowds and the excitement and energy of race day. It’s about being out there with members of my run club and the support of the sisterhood and brotherhood.” - Joann W
I remember as a kid I had some uncles who were in a men’s softball league. My young mindset was, “why do adults play sports like that? Isn’t that kind of stuff for kids?” It’s easy for kids to stay active when there’s city leagues and school teams they can practice and compete with all the way into the beginning of adulthood. At some point after high school or college that fades out. Maybe a pickup game here or there at a family barbecue, but truly a lot of people lose reasons to maintain a means of consistent physical activity.
We need that regular motivation as much as children do. Maybe even more. Racing is my men’s softball league. Yeah it costs money and it makes me get up earlier than I’d prefer on weekends, but adding this into my routine helps keep me social, healthy, and involved in my community.
“It might be the FOMO or could be that it feels like family meeting up.” - Harlen J
FOMO - Fear Of Missing Out. It’s something I talk about a lot. It’s a real thing and a huge part of modern culture. People make decisions both minor and major based solely off of the thought that they will be missing out on something. FOMO isn’t just part of run culture. Thanks primarily to social media, just about anybody that’s online has probably fallen victim to it.
All it takes is one person to post a race in the FB Group and before you know it… 1,2,3, and then 10 people are signed up for the same race. RVC loves racing so much that most of us are booked up every weekend until Christmas! It’s not just the competition, it’s not just the medals and other free stuff; it’s mostly about the camaraderie. Finding people that share and chase the same passion as you only feeds that fire more and more.
The way the sun is just a little higher than it was than you started, and it feels like it’s shining right on you as you cross the finish.
Personally, I run for the kick. That little burst in the last 10th of a mile in a 5k or the .2 of 26.2 that you hope is still in there. Or there’s that little bit of “hell yeah” when you pass someone at a race and they never catch up to you. I even get lowkey hype sometimes when I get a medal.
This will be one of the last blog posts from founder/president Andre Rivera for a while as we begin to take Second Capital Running into it’s next phase as a company. Starting September 10th, Dre will be turning the “Marathoning For Millennials” concept into a bi-weekly podcast. The podcast will feature specials guest, panel discussions, and topics that will further build the running culture in Vineland, South Jersey, and beyond. Our blog will still be active and feature contributions from Run Vineland Crew and friends.