Mile 19: A Runner's Dream
Don’t give up on people. There’s good in everybody, although in some it’s hidden. Often, a person just need someone to believe in them first, before they start believing in themselves.
My legs were close to giving out. It felt as though I was hitting the infamous runners’ wall. My breathing was heavy and my mouth was extremely dry. I was running the Los Angeles Marathon for the second year in a row. I’ve always loved running, and I ran the LA Marathon as a fundraiser for my favorite charity. I was slowly approaching mile 19 where a line of kids, wearing ‘I Have A Dream’ Foundation T-shirts, stood on the side with cups and small bottles of water in their extended hands.
While living in Los Angeles several years ago, I volunteered with The ‘I Have A Dream’ Foundation and worked closely with the “dreamers”, which are kids mostly from low-income, gang-infested neighborhoods who are promised college tuition or vocational school funds after they’d graduated high school. Soaked in sweat, I was turning the corner at mile 19 and noticed one of the ‘dreamers’ stepping out from the group of energetic, cheering kids with the cups and mini-bottles of water. She stepped into my path and quickly got my attention while wildly waving a bottle of water. She made sure that I was only getting water from her. This was a special moment for both of us. This particular girl would regularly roll her eyes and typically shrug off helpful advice and guidance from me for the past several months as she struggled to maintain a positive outlook within a household and neighborhood filled with school dropouts and gang members.
I’m writing this piece today because the girl at mile 19 who’d handed me the much-needed water is now all grown up and doing quite well for herself. She keeps in touch with me, and recently had sent me an email, whereby she referenced the LA Marathon and our special moment at mile 19, and then she went on further, thanking me for not giving up on her and always believing in her.
I hope that all of you have someone believing in you, or perhaps, you believing in someone else. – Randolph Randy Camp
More at https://www.amazon.com/author/randolphcamp