Fireworks 5000 for the Future

By Lauren Selman | Bio

10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, GO!!! At midnight, on July 3rd, over nine hundred runners started off on a midnight fourth of July run in Seattle. Among the runners were my uncle and I. As I stood in the crowd waiting to start, I saw runners of all ages. From nine-year-olds to 85-year-olds, all of us were crazy enough to be standing in Seattle at midnight in short shorts and tank tops. It go me thinking. Here we were, all humans of different ages, gathering around to run.

Now, this is nowhere near my first of this kind of run and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that very often multiple generations come together at sporting events. From being a fan to being a competitor, something about sports has no age limit. Is it the fact that we learned as kids and are striving to be kids again? Is it that on the field or on the course we can lose ourselves? Or is it that we are curious about the challenge and the unknowing ending?

We sign up for competitive runs and events and wait eagerly for a season, knowing that sports will bring us conflict, challenge, victory and satisfaction. Personally, I compete because I love the community. I love being surrounded by people who have pushed themselves to accomplish something great. I love the feeling when you are passing someone and they read your age on your calf in a triathlon and are inspired to go further. Or when someone will say, if that old person can do it, I can do it too!

The moments of feeling inspired by the unexpected. One does not expect an 85-year-old to run a marathon, but when that individual breaks that assumption, then others are inspired to the same. The same goes for the nine-year-old in the front of the pack.

Can we move to a place where we no longer use age as a source of competition but a source of inspiration? I think that, regardless of our age, we have the capacity to surprise others. We can surprise them with our commitments, our breakthroughs and, most of all, our integrity. So go out for that race, join a community and wow your fellow competitors—but most of all, surprise yourself!

© 2008 Lauren Selman. All rights reserved.