November 15, 2012

Never too late to discover you are a runner

Photo by Kangsoon Park
In May I wrote about a stranger who took this picture of me during the 2012 Vancouver Marathon at about 28K and then was so kind to track me down via email to send it to me.

He also told me he was not a runner; he had struggled to cover 9K the other day. "Anyway I love taking photos of people running and the determination of the runners is very inspiring, especially the ones who run the full marathon."  

I really appreciated his effort and, hoping to encourage him in his own running, sent him an email and a copy of my book A Hundred Reasons to Run 100km (you can read the full emails here.)

He responded a couple of days later saying he had just registered for his first running race ever, a 10K the following month. I asked him to keep me posted.

Six weeks later, on June 17, he emailed me:

As I told you earlier and thanks to you, I ran my first 10K race last Friday. It was a bit weird to run in the evening (especially after a rather long week at work); I was a bit worried though I had run 11k in the previous weekend to earn some confidence.

The run was great and surprisingly I made it in 51 minutes! I managed to keep my pace steady and didn't feel exhausted after the run.  Thank you very much for the inspiration!

I have no plans for [races] any time soon but I set my goal to run a half next year.

A fantastic result indeed, and I was thrilled for him. Just recently, I received another email from him, with even more exciting news:  

As today is my 43rd birthday, I was thinking of the past year of my life and realized that running was the most exciting achievement.

Thanks to you, I started to run and joined races.

This summer I ran another 10k -- with a bit over 47 minutes but my biggest achievement came at the end of last month [September] in Surrey. I did my first half marathon (with a proud speed of 1 hour 43 minutes 27 seconds) and most of all I enjoyed the run.

I am going to sign up for two half-marathon races next year and see how it goes.

Anyway thank you very much for inspiring me to run.

Congratulations Kangsoon -- a 1:43 half marathon is an accomplishment every runner would be very proud of, and to run that in your first one is even more impressive!

I am not interested in trying to convince people who do not want to run that they should; but when someone does show an interest and appears to be looking for a little encouragement, it never ceases to amaze me what novice runners (even those who would not yet dare to call themselves a runner) find they can do. 

You are inspiring Kangsoon, and I wish you an even more exciting 2013 season.

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