By Chuck Engle
A grumbling nausea ripped through my stomach. It echoed through the classroom so loudly that it startled most of my fellow students. Mrs. Stupica, my Spanish teacher, smiled at me to acknowledge the struggle that I was enduring to make weight for my wrestling match later in the day. Shortly after the final bell of the day, I laced up my thin-soled wrestling shoes. Wrapped up tightly in sweats and plastic, I would run the halls of Cloverleaf High School. I ran as a means to an end: to lose weight.
Long before my days as a 98 pound wrestler, I would attempt to outrun my older and, suffice it to say, much stronger brother. Getting caught taught me to endure pain. If I got away it was because I ran out of fear.
Shortly after graduating high school I had a forty pound rucksack strapped on my back with an antique M-14 rifle slung over my shoulder. Coupled with my uniform and combat boots, my equipment nearly doubled my bodyweight. The military had given me an ‘opportunity’ to fight for my country. I ran because it was my duty.
I don’t usually look at my running history for motivation to run. I’d rather look forward to my future running. That motivates me. Looking at my past or a recently completed race, I am all too soon convinced that I should run more. I run to understand humility.
The magnitude of races that I have run and the venues of places I have raced are as enumerable as the reasons of why I run.
Whether I race to a personal record or toward completing my 300th marathon, the reason to do so could be as simple as hoping to see something or someone amazing on the race course. I watched Bob Dolphin finish his 500th marathon at the age of 82. That seemed like a great reason to race the Yakima River Canyon Marathon in the snow. Have your ever stopped in the middle of a race because hugging a cancer survivor was more important than breaking some magical time barrier? How about sharing a brief moment with one of the most prolific marathon runners in marathon history; Larry Macon? That seemed like a great reason to run Bear Lake Idaho Whatever the reason that we rise up on those cold, rainy Coos Bay mornings it is enough that we rise and RUN MORE!