A family is most beautiful sight

I used to be athletic, or reasonably so. I played volleyball in high school, though my time was spent more as a bench-warmer than an admired spiker.
I’m tempted to blame it on the fact that I was vertically-challenged (and still am), but I’m not sure that would be completely accurate. I think perhaps I just stunk at volleyball.
Truth be told, I wasn’t much of a team sports person. I liked challenging myself at track and gymnastics, where I could rely on my own skill to measure my athletic prowess or lack thereof, depending on the day.
Last Sunday, I watched more than 2,000 runners participate in the Valley Harvest Marathon in Wolfville, N.S. This race is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon, if runners are so inclined, so athletes came from across Canada and the U.S.
There also was a 50-km race (for those who wanted a near-death experience), as well as a full marathon, a half-marathon, and 10K and 5K runs. But no matter which race a runner was in, they all were champions in my books.
Marathon Day was a gorgeous one—the sun brilliant and the sky blue. The stadium at Acadia University was bursting with spectators and finished racers, and the energy was absolutely electric.
I felt like jumping up and down and shouting.
There were tall runners, short runners, fat runners, skinny runners, old runners, young runners, runners who limped, runners who bounced—the whole spectrum. It was thrilling to watch and I imagined myself on the road with these 2,000 runners.
I’m pretty sure I’d be bringing up the rear, but I wanted to share the moment; high-five them when I burst or staggered over the finish line. I wanted to know the agony of training and the glory of finishing.
It takes dedicated commitment to run those distances; training, training, and some more training. It takes dedicated commitment for most of us to run to the house from the car when it is raining.
The marathon even had a kids’ division for those under 12 on the Saturday evening before the big races. Some 1,000 children participated, with lots of little tykes who could barely run and were easily distracted.
They wandered off the track and tried to change directions, and stopped to admire a leaf. It reminded me a little of herding kittens.
The sight was delightful. It warmed my very heart. There were moms and dads together with their kids, everyone excited and happy; a mini-team in the middle of the larger community.
It is called family and when people do it right, there is no finer achievement in this whole wide world.
I was mesmerized while I sat in the bleachers and watched dads line up for registration and moms pulling T-shirts on over raincoats because it was a dark and stormy night.
Some kids bailed at the last moment because of the large crowds and that was okay, and they were gathered up in parents’ arms and comforted and reassured.
I’m a fan of beautiful scenery, of waterfalls, and majestic trees and beautiful wild flowers. But the sight of a family is the most beautiful one of all.
wendistewart@live.ca

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