Written By: Kate Averett
I have been on this mission lately. A mission that started many years ago, as just a fleeting thought. I was young, a little girl rifling through her mothers shirt drawer, finding marathon after marathon retro crew necks and long sleeves. I’d continuously ask about each race, my little mind finding the fact that she casually ran 13-26 miles seemingly impossible, and she’d regale about each time her knees troubled her or what the finish line energy was like. I was totally enthralled. Maybe one day I could be casually running 20 something miles for fun. Although my mother quit running distances shortly after having me, I knew this was something I wanted to share with her.
After some knee complications at the spry age of eight, my dreams of running distances began to fade. The doctors told me I probably shouldn’t ever run. Years of physical therapy ensued. Things slowly healed.
By college, I turned to running as a way to handle stress, my sights set on my first half marathon. My parents both drove the 5 hours to cheer me on in what many called insanity. I remember my mother, eyes widened in excitement as she began to jog to catch me, yelling “Tom she’s already here!” As I rounded the corner for the finish line. That was in the spring, and by fall of that year, those were some of the last memories I’d have with her.
I returned the following year to the same race determined to beat my previous time, knowing the memories of my mother would linger throughout the 13 miles and across the finish line. And then, I returned once more, and even added an additional race to the docket. I found my mother was there with me every step of the way. So the distances grew, and changed. I began trail running, a way to combine places we had shared together in eastern Oregon with our mutual hobby of running. A 24ish mile trail race, a road marathon, and all of the training in between. Each new challenge I embraced. There is nothing else like this sport.
For a hobby that seems so insane to many, it has become one of the driving forces in my life. A hobby that I share with my mother even though she’s no longer around.
I had been wanting to get into ultra running for a few years, and after watching from the finish line of the Run Rabbit Run race this last fall in my hometown, I was almost sold. A friend of mine from the gym heard me mention once that I wanted to do it, and then he never let a day go by without asking me if I had signed up. I finally signed up.
So, I’ll be taking my hobby of the last eight years and putting it to the test- a hopeful completion of a fifty mile race. I could’ve started smaller, but as my mom always said “if you can run a half marathon, then you can run a marathon.” And so, I figured maybe this also rings true for if you can run a marathon, then you can run 50 miles. I guess I’ll find out.
So, I’ve been on this mission lately. A mission that constantly changes, challenges, and betters me. A mission that will culminate come September.