I don’t know any marathoner who didn’t watch this year’s New York City Marathon and get teary eyed watching Shalane Flanagan run a gutsy race, grab hold of her fate at mile 23 and run away with victory. Was she scared in that moment? Did she have doubts as she pushed to run away from the 3x NYC marathon champ Mary Keitany? Was she hurting? Of course she was! But she made a choice in those late miles of the race; she pushed that all away. Her run inspired us all. And now, standing here on your own race day, filled with nerves and excitement, I want to challenge you to do what she did: Be brave. Push it all away.
We know there will be pain. We know it will be hard. But what I want you to also remember is that there is huge capacity for joy, for bravery.
As you get ready to toe the line, I want you to remember why you started this journey, why this start and finish line meant something to you. Return to that purpose, let it be your armor. These last moments before the gun goes off can fill us with uncertainty and make us question our sanity. But not today.
Today you will stand on the line and remember what you came here for. You will remember how hard you have worked. You will remember that you are strong as hell. You will remember that you are running for more than just yourself. You will remember that you have nothing to prove and nothing to lose. Today, you will be brave. When you think of the challenges in front of you, the problems you will have to work through, smile, because you are ready to take them on. Smile, be brave because you have made the choice to challenge yourself in this way.
Today is your day to fly fearlessly in the pursuit of your dreams.