The Fellowship of the Traveling Runner

 

The other day I was chatting with another runner just before heading out to cover some miles. We were exchanging details of our next marathons: which states, dates, other runners we’re meeting there, any time goals–the usual highlights.    For some reason, we both started chuckling at ourselves and the conversation.  travel run 2We acknowledged to each other how crazy our pursuit of our sport probably seems to most of the rest of the (non-distance running) world.
We don’t plan one or two week vacations after consulting travel websites and perusing glossy brochures.  We go on race weekends.  Unless it’s a big “destination race,” e.g., Hawaii, we look for a cheap flight and even cheaper motels.  The idea is to get to as many races you can afford and physically complete.  Since marathons in Florida pretty much dry up from April through September, I look north for summer races.

In a few weeks, I’ll be heading northwest to visit a place that has been on my radar screen for decades.  Growing up in Detroit, I associate Thanksgiving with the Lions-Packers game.  They played for 13 straight years; I was 9 at their final turkey day meet-up.   After one year when the Lions handed the Packers their only loss of the season, Vince Lombardi pressed to change the schedule.  He finally prevailed.  Green Bay didn’t play Detroit on Thanksgiving again until the mid ’80s.
Packer fans are unique.  They are crazy cheeseheads (they embrace the name) who love their team beyond the beyond.

They show up after snowstorms to shovel out Lambeau Field for the team, which is the only non-profit, community owned major league pro sports team in the U.S.  As a decades long member of Red Sox Nation, I am intrigued.  And the Green Bay marathon starts and finishes at Lambeau Field, with a tailgate-themed party at the end.

I am also really looking forward to connecting with running friends from across the country.  We stay in touch via the Internet and plan regular meet-ups.  Last year, we congregated in Charlevoix, Michigan.  This year, it’s Green Bay.  We’ve rented a half of a duplex, so we’ll be able to hang out, cook our own meals, enjoy a backyard with a fire pit, and at a substantial savings over motels.

 

We’ve been doing this for a long time.  I remember getting together in 2005 in Omaha.  One couple in our group brought their young son, who played the piano for us in the hotel lobby.    Today he’s in college, turning twenty years old.  And we’re still running.

That Omaha marathon was my 22nd.  Green Bay, if I finish, will be 165.  In my defense, I point you to the Marathon Maniacs, a group of over 12,000 runners (I’m #130) who run multiple marathons every year.

We all plan our vacation days around marathons.   And then there’s the sister group, Half-Fanatics.  A little more measured, they run half marathons.  Lots of them.  There are over 14,000 of those folks (of course, some of us are repeat offenders and belong to both).

Looking forward to reporting back on how the Green Bay marathon reunion unfolds.  For now, gotta run; need to finish up plans for the August trip!
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......former public defender/legal aid lawyer, Teach For America teacher, and always running....

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One comment on “The Fellowship of the Traveling Runner
  1. Erika Van Flein says:

    Looking forward to seeing you in Green Bay, Amy! Only wish Dan was coming along as well.

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