Continuing our series on #FindYourOwnFinishLine, Coach Jen talks about the Houston Marathon’s Challenge to collectively run 100,000 miles in a month.
I am a huge fan of challenges. Run 2019 miles in 2019, yes! Done. Sonic Run Bingo card? I’ll wrap that up by Tuesday. Bike 1000 miles a month, sign me up! Even better if it’s something that requires updating on a spreadsheet and tracking over time. I am here for it.
So in June, starting on Global Running Day, the Houston Marathon came out with a Virtual #RunHouTogether challenge. The idea was to see if we collectively could run 100,000 miles in June. And as a plus you could sign up for your local run club or team and the team with the most miles would win a “Super Aid Station” put on by the Houston Marathon.
Pretty quickly on my run club, the Katy Area Running Club, emerged close to the top. We held a consistent second place to a club with 3 times our number of paying members, and 10 times the number of Facebook members. (About 350 versus 950, and 290 versus 4000) We could never quite get into first, and we knew that we needed a make a huge effort to have a chance at winning. So a couple of our awesome club members put together an “Empty The Tank Ultra”. This was basically a chose your own adventure run, pick when you want to start and finish and how far you go, but to challenge yourself to double or even triple your regular long run. Because of COVID (like anyone could forget our collective never ending nightmare) this was a super safe and socially distanced “group” run. Most people used their vehicles as their own personal aid station, and then we had some emergency water and individually wrapped snacks, handed out by masked volunteers.
At 4 am on a super hot 82 degree Saturday morning in June, with 100% humidity and a dew point of 79, under a dome of Saharan dust, about 70 fearless members of KARC set out on their personal ultra. And we ran and ran and changed our socks and shoes and ran for hours. At the end of the day 15 of those people had run a marathon distance or longer (the longest run was 50 miles, second was 37.5) and collectively we ran over 1300 miles.
For me personally it was a challenge and a victory. I haven’t run a marathon in almost 2 years, and to do so in such terrible conditions was a triumph. We are ALL capable of so much more than we think we are. And a huge thank you to my running buds that day, I seriously would not have made it without you.
“The strength of the team is each individual member, and the strength of each individual member is the team.”- Phil Jackson
In the end, we lost the challenge. But really I don’t think anyone took it as a defeat. We ran over 20,000 miles with our 350 members. We came within 600 miles of winning against a monster club. Over 20 of our members ran over 200 miles each in June. That’s a lot of miles for this time of the year. We recruited new members to our club, we made new friends. We worked together tirelessly to win, with every person giving everything they had. And we competed with honesty and integrity, with everyone encouraging each other and being positive right up to the very end. I had a ton of fun with the challenge and I know others did too.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some bike challenge miles to make up for my team. 🙂