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Adventure, Running

What inspired me to run up Big Sky Mountain

January 27, 2017

Last year I had a chance to stay up in Big Sky, Montana.  When I arrived I saw this amazing peak and something hit me.  I had this sense of wonder of “hey maybe I could run to the top of that.”

It was like trying to get up there had me really curious and feeling moved.  I always think of my grandfather Poppy too when this happens.  Below were some reflections from about half way up.

This sense of wonder, curiosity and inspiration kept me going that day.  Even when I thought I hit the summit pretty early :).

Ya, I wasn’t quite there yet. So just kept running to see what would happen.  I just got more curious and had more fun with the terrain.  This was me after hitting the top.

 

Diversity, Leadership, Running, Uncategorized

We do this together

September 23, 2012

Today I had an amazing day helping with the Let Me Run Coaches Training at our office. I put together the below video to show the incredible story of my boys this past spring. It reminded me of the the importance of allowing people to experience each other for who they are. And the video reconnected me with how much I loved coaching those kids. I have never seen anything like what happened that afternoon on race day. Hope you enjoy!

Culture, Hiking, Running

Runnin Free with Devon Sibole

August 25, 2012

Below is a new interview with a good friend named Devon Sibole for my series on “Follow your Passion.” Devon has a powerful story that she told me one day on a trail run in California. She really epitomizes the message I want to share with this blog series. Enjoy!

Hey Devon, thanks so much for doing an interview on my new series called “Follow your Passion.”  So tell us all a little bit more about what you do at Outside PR & Sports Marketing.

I’m a public relations account manager, working on various outdoor and fitness brands, including DownTek, Pearl Izumi, GU Energy, Hydrapak, Road ID, Ambler, Injinji and AlterG Antigravity Treadmills.  Generally, I’m working with journalists, athletes and clients, helping to create and identify publicity opportunities.  I also spend a healthy chunk of my day writing press releases, pitches and other press materials and planning and prepping for events.

How did you identify this as a potential career path?  What were you doing before you started at this company and why did you make the change?

In 2008, I was working in media planning on a few very high profile clients.  It was a job with merciless hours and zero creativity.  I was unhealthy and uninspired.  But, it was a beautiful paycheck and we were staring down the barrel of a recession.  One particular morning, as I was walking to the office, I stopped to look at the people around me.  Gulping coffee and barking on cell phones, we were all marching ants rushing in droves to our desks or to meetings.  We all had matching suits and matching scowls.  I had a simple realization that made me stop in my tracks: This is MY life.  It wasn’t so much of an “ah-hah!” moment. It was more like a full-bellied SOS scream.  All I wanted to do that day was to go on a trail run and be with people who made me feel alive.  I wanted a job that made me feel unique, interested, challenged and that made a positive impact.  I wanted to be with people who were happy and knew that life was measured in more ways than in paychecks.  

When I reached the office, I felt genuinely relieved.  I trotted into my manager’s office, sat down across from her at her desk and gave my notice.

That same day, as I was signing up for a marathon, I clicked on a link to a company called OutsidePR.  I didn’t know much about public relations, but the company worked with brands I used and prided itself in creativity.  Additionally, the outdoor industry couldn’t have been a more perfect match for a person like me.  Even if I didn’t get this job, I knew there were hundreds of other like-minded companies to stalk until I got an interview.  I applied.

For a solid week, I reveled in unemployment.  I surfed my ass off, drank green tea by the boatload and ran all the trails I could find.  (I live in San Francisco, so that really is a ton of running.)  I squeezed in an interview with OutsidePR, too.  A few days after my interview, I got a call with an offer.

I always hear people talking about the importance of not being afraid to fail.  The idea that sometimes when you follow your passion or make a big change, there is no way of knowing how it will turn out when you start.  How did you handle those thoughts?  Did you have to take some risks along the way and was it hard to make the change knowing you were leaving a secure job?

There is no formula for how to live life, nor any guarantees that if you play all your cards right, things will work out in the end.  I wasn’t afraid of failing, I was afraid of never trying.  I knew there had to be something better out there for me, and I was intent on finding it.

As it turned out, I wasn’t lying during my interview at OutsidePR – I was a quick study and was able to take on more and more in the following months.  I absorbed everything I could, took on as many projects as possible.  I fell head over heels in love with my company and really enjoyed the people with whom I worked.  The industry was exciting and growing by leaps and bounds. I found a mentor.  Then I found another one.  Before I knew it, I had my own mini board of advisors.

I was encouraged to take time every day to work out.  Instead of drinking coffee, I’d take afternoon hikes.  Although my life had taken such a major change, my head had never been more clear.

There’s a quote, stated by the Grand Old Man of Nature, “Leap and the net will appear.” I think you have to have that ambition and courage to take that leap.  The passion part is integral – you need to know the kind of net in which you’d like to land.  Blindly jumping into anything isn’t a smart idea. Preparation and honesty with yourself is integral to any major life change.

How have you felt both personally and professionally since you made the change to pursue work you love?  How did it all turn out for you now that you have been with them for almost 5 years?

Over the past few years, my position has grown and changed in ways I didn’t know were attainable when I first took the job.  Personally, I love what I do because it reflects who I am.  I am proud of the work I do and excited for my work week.  My professional relationships are in many ways personal.  I get to go to a job everyday and work with friends.   We are a strong (and competitive) team that produces some amazing work.  I really do feel like the best is yet to come.

Any advice to readers out there contemplating a career change?

1. Figure out what excites and inspires you.  Immerse yourself in the activities and outlets that get you stoked.  You’ll end up meeting some incredible people who might be able to open a doorway for you.

2. Get a board of advisors that will tell you the truth but won’t try to shield you from failure.  Failure isn’t always a bad thing.  All of my failures have made me be that much smarter about my next decision and much more resilient and resourceful.

3. Join professional organizations in the industries that you are interested in exploring.  I met recruiters, friends and coworkers through the Outdoor Industries Women’s  Organization (www.OIWC.org.)- these connections have played a pivital role in my life and continue to shape my career.

Devon sure has a powerful story. The reason I loved it so much is because she is an amazing person to be around and so authentic. She has such an infectious, fun loving personality and really lives life to the fullest. I really feel that when you have the courage to follow your passion like Devon, not only will you be happier but you can make such an incredible impact on other people. So thanks Devon, for being the person you are. Keep running, leaping and living the way you do. Because you continue to invite others to come alive with their authenticity. And that is a world I want to co-create with you! Have a great week everyone.

Biking, Culture, Food, Hiking, Leadership, Running

Joy and Meaning List

June 23, 2012

One of my favorite exercises from Brene Brown’s book, “The Gifts of Imperfection” was creating a “Joy and Meaning List.” It really helped me align what I was doing with my life with what brought the most meaning and happiness.  As my good friend Carole tells me, it is important to focus on activities that raise your energy. This list was especially helpful as I debated what to do with downsizing and making a big leap with my career path. I have had this list below since last fall and then decided to add a few more tonight.

  1. Connecting with others
  2. Enjoying wine with friends
  3. A nice cooked meal
  4. Inspiring someone with a new perspective
  5. Learning something new
  6. Traveling to Europe
  7. Beautiful mountain scenic views
  8. Davidson athletics
  9. Coffee shops
  10. A casual walk
  11. A mid-afternoon nap
  12. Running with friends
  13. Being with my family
  14. Taking Brooks swimming
  15. Any activity with Brooks…
  16. Helping kids and young people
  17. Music…especially making a new mix
  18. Sharing ideas and being inspired
  19. Creating space for other people to embrace their authenticity
  20. Feeling loved and appreciated
  21. Writing my blog
  22. Living a life full of purpose
  23. Dancing…usually in a “unique” way
  24. Question games at dinner or Catch Phrase
  25. Getting to know someone at a very personal level
  26. Making an impact
  27. Being outside in the sun
  28. Hiking
  29. A healthy meal
  30. Eating at a nice restaurant
  31. Working out especially at an exercise class
  32. Making homemade pizzas
  33. Making someone laugh or smile
  34. A long bike ride
  35. Being a positive example for my younger brother
  36. Reading a great book
  37. TED videos
  38. Being around my Let Me Run boys at Nations Ford Elementary
  39. Protecting people’s access to information…a Library
  40. Laughing at my own jokes
  41. Tailgates and sporting events
  42. Live music
  43. Being there for a good friend
  44. Trying a new recipe
  45. Being present with others
  46. Encouraging people to do what they love
  47. Cultivating a sense of wonder and being in the moment
  48. Having a larger perspective with my life
  49. Intentionally trying to make someone’s day with my words or actions
  50. Being grateful for what I have

Well those are the ones that came to mind, and I am sure there are many more.  I would love to hear what some of yours are!  I invite you to share at least three that would be on your list in the comments section. Have a great week.

Culture, Diversity, Leadership, Running, Uncategorized, Volunteering

How they let me be me

June 14, 2012

I recently finished coaching my spring Let Me Run team when my boys all ran a 5K together. They sure are incredible kids, and I learned so much from them over the last seven weeks. It was really one the greatest experiences in my life. So what did I learn from them?

I learned the importance of having some fun. At our last practice, we had a competition to see who could do the best soccer goal celebration.  Ja’Wan clearly won this contest below. It was a “laughcry” for me. That is my term for when you laugh so hard you cry.

I learned about the excitement of a big race through the eyes of a group of young people. It was a great reminder to me about keeping life simple and treasuring each precious moment.

I learned the real meaning of unity and doing something together. After most of the boys finished on Saturday, we realized our last runner, Ja’Wan, was still out on the course. The boys wanted to find Ja’Wan and finish with him so we could all do it together. Several people at the race noticed what was happening including the Charlotte Observer. They wrote a really nice article about the story in Sunday’s paper. Most importantly, what do you think it meant to Ja’Wan to have his teammates come back and support him in such a positive way? And it clearly impacted all the people watching.

I learned the importance of giving people the space to open up. At some of our practices, many of our boys shared stories of losing loved ones and other difficult events that no person should have to deal with. After some of these conversations, you could see the boys feeling lighter after having the space to express their emotions. The great thing is now they have some tools to continue this practice. And they created some wonderful friendships to keep this going.

I learned what it feels like to have someone run up and hug you for no other reason than to just say hello. Many of the kids did this before each practice and it always re-centered me on the real purpose of being with these kids.

I learned that young kids can completely energize you. They run around without a care in the world and many times only care about when they can “play” again. I was reminded how it important it is to have plenty of time to “play” in my own life.

I learned that friendships can happen between two people at any age. My other coach was a 64 year old man, and we couldn’t have connected more as friends. He was a major part of making this such a great experience. Joe is also incredibly passionate about giving back and being with our youth.

I learned what it means to be a team and achieve goals together. It sure was special to see all of our runners complete the race. Seven weeks ago they all set a goal to finish the race, and they all did it together. I am very excited to stay connected with these kids and watch them grow over the years.

I learned how enjoyable it can be to surprise someone with a little gift. I surprised my boys on their last day of school with framed pictures of them at the race. Thanks to my friend Caitlin for the idea! However, most of them just wanted to know if I had any extra medals. It was amazing to hear that “Coach Jon is here” and see them come running.

Most importantly, I learned that when you find the courage to just be yourself, many times you invite others to do the same. I know my boys sure did this for me, and it really allowed me to open up and be authentic with them.

What extraordinary lessons from an amazing group of nine and ten year old boys. My Nations Ford team sure personifies the meaning of co-creating a culture where one plus one is more than two. And they let me be me.  Have a great week.

 

Exercise, Running, Uncategorized

What if we were born to run?

May 28, 2012

I read a book recently that really changed my perspective on running and re-ignited my passion to get out on the pavement. It was around a time when I was struggling to run more even though I love it. The book is called “Born to Run” by Chris McDougall. So what was it about this book that made such a difference in my perspective?

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Mr. McDougall makes a very compelling argument that our evolution and anatomical structure supports the idea that we were born to run in many ways. He profiles the most elite running people in the world or the Tarahumara runners in Mexico.  They can run for 100s of miles at a time and all with barely anything on their feet. Pretty much barefoot with a small leather sandal…and that is why this book set off the barefoot running movement.

(source)

After all kinds of IT band, foot issues and stress fractures, I got rid of my heavy, cushioned shoes in favor of a lighter version. I started with Nike Frees, tried the Mizuno Ronin, the New Balance Minimus and finally…the Vibram Five Fingers. I have even tried actual barefoot running and haven’t been injured since the change. I find that running with less on my feet lets me really feel the earth and allows me to change my stride if I am running incorrectly. I could never feel this before, which could be why I was getting injured.

But what was most fascinating to me about the Tarahumara is that they are known to have uncanny health and serenity. And mostly live free of diseases that plague the rest of the modern world. I started to wonder if we just ran more as a culture, we might actually have a lot less health problems and be happier people.

So how did so much of our culture move away from running? I think our brains are largely the culprit. As stated in the book, “Our brains have been trained to try get more for less and store energy we need for an emergency. And there’s the bit of irony: our fantastic endurance gave our brain the food it needed to grow, and now our brain is undermining our endurance. We live in a culture that sees extreme exercise as crazy…because that’s what our brain tell us: why fire up the machine if you don’t have to. When in fact we evolved as a human race by running 50-100 miles a day just to get our food.  Nearly every top killer in the Western World-heart disesase, stroke, diabetes, depression, hypertension, and dozens of forms of cancer-was unknown to our ancestors.”

However, even with all this compelling data and great reasons to run, I still struggle to get out for a run sometimes. My brain tells me “you are too tired”, “you need to relax”, or “you run too much already.” Now I believe this is totally normal since I spend most of the day at a desk or in front of a computer. Of course my brain doesn’t want me to move. But when I finish a run, I am overcome with this incredible feeling of happiness and energy. Like I was really doing something I was meant to do. So I have been working on re-training my mind with my running.

I have made it a point to run almost everyday now to help with this process. And more just to be happy, be present and really take care of my body. Sometimes I even send a short video to friends. Yes, I am that guy. Ha.

I also try to not let my brain try to take over and say, “this is too much.” Instead of thinking, I just start putting my shoes on and before long, I am outside with a big smile on my face. And who knew I never even really needed shoes…

I think it is amazing that this one remedy…running…could really be something so important to our lives and our health. So what should you do? Well as stated in the book, “just move your legs. Because if you don’t think you were born to run, you’re not only denying history. You’re denying who you are.” Or watch this incredible video that always motivates me to get out there. Whatever will get you moving and outside more on your feet. But most importantly, don’t forget your brain has been trained to tell you to “slow it down.” So it may just take some work to remind your brain that you were in fact…born to run. Have a great week.

 

 

Leadership, Running, Volunteering

Could a running program change the lives of kids?

April 8, 2012

A few months ago I connected with the founder of Let Me Run here in Charlotte. If you haven’t heard of them, they are the boys equivalent of Girls on the Run which has been wildly successful. The founder’s name is Ashley Armistead, and she is an amazing person. Every time we have a conversation over coffee I leave feeling incredibly energized like I am witnessing someone change the world. So what is it about her and her organization that makes such an impact on me?

(source)

As stated on the website, “Let Me Run is a non-profit prevention program aimed at strengthening boys in body and spirit. Our mission is to encourage boys to stay on track to living into their full potential by inspiring healthy friend, family and community relationships.” Essentially they use the power of running as a tool to inspire young boys to embrace their own authenticity, lead for positive change, learn self-awareness and really connect to other people. And all the while they are teaching simple ways to live healthy with exercise and nutrition. One of the first training sessions is an exercise where they ask each of the boys to share a weakness to show that when we are real with each other, we are more connected. As you might imagine, I was completely hooked after my first conversation with Ashley.

(source)

What I described in that last paragraph was Ashley’s vision along with many other amazing people involved in the organization. She once told me that the main reason she started Let Me Run was that she had two young boys and wanted them to grow up in a different world. She took action where she saw a huge need in our society and is out there driving transformational change. Isn’t that amazing? And how do you think this passion to make a difference affects her family? What an example she is for her boys.

And you may ask, why did she pick running? I think this quote from her coaches manual says it all.  “Running levels the playing field. It demands that you bring your best attitude and a positive spirit. Running does not care what car you showed up in or what labels are on your clothes. Running shows your vulnerable side. It brings a dose of humility, which opens you up to new ideas and friendships. Running creates a spirit of hope that what you honestly put in you will get out. It helps us feel connected to others and nature.” Just beautiful.

Check out Let Me Run Alaska!

(source)

The program continues to grow and has been nationally recognized as a leading boys education program by a Harvard Medical School professor named William Pollock. Dr. Pollock is an internationally recognized authority on boys and men and the Founder & Director of the REAL BOYS© Educational Programs.

So let me share quick story I heard recently about the program. The boys spend seven weeks training for a 5K and then all run the race together. At one race recently, half the participants from one school finished before their other teammates. The first thing they wanted to do was run back and finish with their other teammates. So they could all do it together. The amazing thing about this story is imagine how that affected the other kids and parents watching. That is the core of what I mean by 1 + 1 > 2. By these kids just being themselves and showing compassion, they impacted all the people around them. I just love it!

(source)

So when I heard that Let Me Run had a need for coaches this spring, I jumped at the opportunity. I will be coaching a team of 4th graders at Nations Ford Elementary. And the old football guy in me is incredibly excited. I will try not to wear the old Bike coaching shorts and high striped socks but can’t promise anything.

(source)

Charlotte sure has some amazing people that really want to make a difference. Ashley and her staff at Let Me Run are a prime example of that. They have such a vision for the future of our children, and it is so inspiring to be around. Sometimes I think about what kind of legacy we are leaving in our world. Ashley Armistead and Let Me Run feel that “upon leaving the program we watch for our boys to take responsibility for all aspects of their health and confidently lead for positive change around them.” I sure feel aligned with leaving that kind of legacy. Have a great week.

Family, Leadership, Running, Uncategorized

Could downsizing create more happiness?

March 11, 2012

So I wrote a post a few weeks ago about how I recently moved and promised to follow-up on why.  For six years, I lived in a house I loved in the Sedgefield area of Charlotte.  I had renovated several parts of the house and even rebuilt the deck with several close friends. I was definitely “least valuable player” in that process and mainly bought food and put in the occasional screw.  Ha.  And it was great having a big fenced in yard to let out Brooks all the time.

However, a 1700 sq ft. house for one person can sometimes be a lot of work, and I spent a lot of time and money maintaining it all. This was around the time I started to think about how I could create more time to write and grow the message of my blog. I also wanted to pursue more educational seminars, volunteer more, and spend more time with family and friends. These are things that brought meaning to my life, so I wanted to create more space for them. I also needed to save some money and have more financial flexibility to do these things.

But could I really leave my house? I am a 30 year old man…I have to be in a house to show I am safe and secure, right? Well not for me, and it all hit me one day back in December thanks to a great friend (love ya Betsy!). I was moved by a comment when told me “she may have to make some sacrifices to do more of what she loved.”

So I made the critical decision that I want to build my life around what is meaningful to me. I realized that my house didn’t define me, but the type of person and life I lead will show who I am. So with more time and money, I could write more, see friends and family more, be outside more and mainly feel like this big weight was lifted off my shoulders. I already have two trips planned to FL to see my little brother. More on why that is really important right now in a future post.

So I put the house up for rent. I was lucky to rent it to a great family very quickly. I put a ton of furniture up on Craig’s List and had a massive garage sale. It is amazing the amount of stuff you accumulate over the years. It was invigorating to get rid of so many things that I never use. As Graham Hill says, less stuff equals more happiness.  I love his TED Video about this concept. I think I had 35 coffee cups and used about 5 of them. Some of the 15 table runners also got the boot too. My mother did help with some of that collection.  Sorry mom…you know I love you!

Then I moved into a 700 sq ft. one bedroom studio. I still have plenty of space to entertain since my kitchen and family room are all one big room. The new place only has things I love. So yes, lots of spices, olive oil and pictures of Brooks. Ha. As you can I see I enjoy laughing at all my jokes :).

I love my new location, and I am walking distance to some great restaurants, shops and bars. Since I don’t have a yard, Brooks gets at least two walks a day. Part of the deal was that I did have to promise him more walks! I find myself running more just to get him exercise.

So he made out better, and I am getting outside more. I am sure I will want to get back to a house one day once I have a family, but I am not there yet.

And how I am feeling? Well I am just generally happier all the way around. Life seems easier, and I feel more relaxed and energized.

So is there anything in your life weighing you down in a similar fashion? It may not be a house, but it could be other things that hold you back from having the time to do what is important to you. As my good friends at the Center for Intentional Leadership helped me see, there is quite a difference between a To-Do List and a To-Live List. What is on your To-Live list and how could you create more space for those things? It sure has made me healthier, happier and better for others.  That is my little one plus one is more than two meaning of the week.  Have a good one!

Dogs, Leadership, Running

Where do new ideas come from?

February 24, 2012

I was having lunch with a good friend the other day, and she was joking that it seems everyone’s best ideas always come to them in the shower.  I started to think about this some more, because I am fascinated with how we come up with new ideas. For me, it always has something to do with being more present in my life.

So, lets think about this shower example.  Unless you have a waterproof case or special shower, you don’t have a phone, tv or computer in the shower.  No technology for the most part like mine below.

So, without all the distractions and mass of information coming at us, something like being in the shower can make us more present with our lives.  People can just be who they are.  And when people just be who they are, their best stuff seems to come to the surface.

How else can we take time to just be present and take time for ourselves? Some of my best ideas come on a jog or just relaxing on the couch with some music and no TV. Or a taking walk with my dog. I focus on that amazing feeling of just being outside and observing the trees, the sounds and the sky.

I am trying to do less of what I used to do which was walking at night with a flashlight duck taped to a hat, book in hand, headphones on and dog leash wrapped around my waist.  Probably a little too much going on, and my neighbors thought I was a little weird.  haha.

I did create a learning goal around this concept of taking more time to be present that I thought I would share:

“Be mindful of taking time for myself so I can learn, grow and deeply connect with others.”

A few of my measurables:

-At least three walks a week outside of my normal exercise regiment.

-Meditate three times a week.

-I will take an internet holiday once a quarter.  Essentially, a 24 hr break from all technology except phone calls in case of an emergency.  No tv, internet, text, social media, etc.

I also want to eat more meals where I just enjoy my food and each bite. So many times I have a meal with the iPad, book or something else going on and forget I am even eating. A good friend sent me this video that I used as my new food motto now: “Enjoy Every Sandwich.” It helps me slow down when I feel like I am running too much.

So where do your best ideas come from? I would love to hear what works for you or makes you more present in your life! Maybe you can even join me on one of my quarterly internet holidays!  Have a great weekend.

Exercise, Leadership, Running, Uncategorized

What I Learned at the Finish Line

January 8, 2012

If you are looking for a reason to start running, I have some free motivation for you.  Go observe the finish line at the next 5K or any other race in town. I’ve run in many races before, but I developed an entire new perspective when I stumbled upon a race finish line while on vacation in Asheville, NC.

What I saw that day was how running brings people together. Usually hundreds of people are doing something early on a Saturday morning for a good cause. Many are running to achieve a special milestone with their health, and it could be someone’s first race or their 100th. Here are some other things I noticed:

-Families and friends hugging each other. Lots of quotes like “you did it”, “I am so proud of you”, “I can’t believe you are here” and “I will never forget this day.”

-People crying after making it through the finish line.

-Posterboards from little kids titled “You can do it Mom/Dad. I love you. You are my hero.”

-Young kids finishing the race. I always smile when I see these.

-People raising their arms in their air as they run through the finish line. It could be families finishing together like this picture below.

(source)

-Dogs running to embrace their owner. I love to watch these…if you leave your dog for even 30 seconds they think you left forever, right?  My little brother brought mine when I finished a half marathon recently.  Yes, he got a medal too.

-People ringing bells, playing music and yelling wildly when they see their loved ones.

-Perfect strangers walking up to each other and saying “how did you do…that is fantastic…I am so happy for you.”

I sure walked away from that finish with a big smile on my face.

The great thing is you don’t even have to have a big family at the finish line to experience this. I run many of my races by myself or with a just a friend or two. However, I feel really connected to perfect strangers who come up and ask if I achieved my goals. No one wants to compare themselves to me or one up my time, but they genuinely just want to know how my race went. I saw this happening that day in Asheville with people from all walks of life.

You could even find yourself at a finish line as one of three lucky guys amongst 200 girls like I did at the 2011 Healthy Living Summit 5K. See if you can find me. It’s like a Where’s Waldo book.  Ha.

(source)

Maybe you will see a marriage proposal. One of my best friends proposed to his future wife at the finish line of the ING Miami Marathon. He actually carried the ring with him all 26.2 miles. And of course she said yes! Everyone liked it so much it became an ad in Runners World below. What an amazing memory they will have for the rest of their lives. And I bet they made the race that much more special for everyone else at the finish line…

So lets see if we can unpack the real meaning of the finish line.  Is it?

Run (1) + People (1) = Race (2)

or

Run (1) + People (1)  = Race, Inspiration, Connection, Friendship, Acceptance, Love, Happiness and Encouragement  (More than 2).

I guess it is all in your perspective. See you at the finish line!