There is a good chance I may get emotional while conveying this message, so it's probably best that I'm hiding behind the computer right now and that I didn't give this message during the 2018 Capital Striders dinner a couple of weeks ago. Here we go...
What an amazing ride the past 6 years has been for me. I'm not new to the Central Iowa running scene, but I became more aware of what the Striders were about 7 years ago from a co-worker who just happened to be on the Striders board. She told me that the club was looking for someone to work on coordinating the Saturday morning training runs and asked if I'd like to do it. I have a REALLY hard time saying no, so I took on the challenge. What I never thought about was how much that one task of setting up water was going to change my outlook on this community.
As someone who didn't grow up as a runner, I didn't know the camaraderie that can be developed when spending hour after hour of putting one foot in front of the other together. My desire to run once I started losing weight, was for me to show how much of a badass I truly was. I was doing it all for me. I didn't understand the purpose of the club at first...let's just say I was naive and thought everyone was just a bunch of speedsters...but the people that I've been surrounded with have shown me grace, encouragement and friendship that I will never forget and made me realize that this club isn't just to help people be better runners, but to help the community around us to be a greater place to live.
A lot of people look at what we do as just beating ourselves up, but this club means so much more to the greater community. Being on the board has shown me that we need to take care of our community. During the past 6 years, we've done that and put ourselves into a position of making sure that we take care of this community for generations to come. From scholarships, to donating used shoes and clothing to the homeless shelters, to donating food, to donating funds to local track clubs, to paying for community betterment projects, to donating to take care of our dirt trail system, to creating an environment where kids as young as 5 can learn to appreciate the outdoors...I'm proud to have served this community.
I don't have enough space to thank everyone who I've been able to work with on the board over the past 6 years. I have to thank Bobbi Snodgrass publicly for asking me to consider jumping on the board. That was a very stressful decision that I had to make, but I'm glad I made it. Thanks to Mike McGinn who was such a great mentor for me during my two years as President. Thanks to the board members from 2012 for trusting me enough to allow me to take on a race (Sycamore 8) that was on it's way to shutting down and giving me the chance to grow it to a nearly 300 runner race. I have formed some of the most amazing friendships on this board. I would thank all of you individually, but I'm not dying and I'll tell you in person :)
Most importantly, thank you to you as the community for embracing me. For allowing me to serve on your board of directors. This club isn't mine. It's the 700 others who pay their membership, donate their time to serving other runners, who show up to the races and spread the love of our events. Thanks to the parents who brought their kids out to the youth trail days. We are setting something up to where the club will be able to offer these clinics to keep kids on the trails. Of all of the things that I've done, this is where I hope my legacy lives. The trails mean so much to me. The solitude of being in the woods is amazing and I hope that we can continue to share this love with generations to come.
I can't begin to thank you enough for what you have all done for me and my family. I love you all and I know that we'll see each other all of the time. Even though my time on the board has come to an end, please continue to reach out to me. You all know how much I love to talk running....and talk about cutoff jean shorts :)
All the best in this upcoming year and I'll see you on the roads and trails
Stay Strong, Run Long