Day 29 — Family

Today I saw a lot of old friends at Run Dem Crew.

It’s the Tuesday immediately after The Best Race in The World and housekeeping with Charlie Dark is always something special after a Sunday like that. I wasn’t really prepared for what the night had in store for me though.

I haven’t been down to Run Dem Crew since last year for a number of reasons. Personal factors, injury, work, motivation, desire. All of those things contributed to me not running with Run Dem these days but I really wanted to see Stephen and Kai get their marathon medals.

Image by Charlie Dark

They are two young men that I got to know at Run Dem and then really closely through the Swim Challenge project last year where we took a group of young people from non-swimmers to accomplished open water swimmers. They have an incredible amount of courage and determination and at the tender ages of 20 and 19 respectively, I know that they will go far in life. They have earned all the successes that came their way so far and I am proud of them and extremely happy to see the journey that they’ve come on.

They inspire me to keep going and be better.

Back to Tuesday and medals though. We have a tradition at Run Dem where the crew celebrate each others achievements with small (and sometimes long) post-race write ups that Charlie Dark reads out to the entire crew and then presents members with their medals from their races. There’s often tears and a hell of a lot of smiles. Today was no different. Hours ticked away while I sat down and enjoyed seeing Charlie play out to the audience of the crew, keeping us entertained with every speech while keeping a serious undertone to it all. Marathons are no joke but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time.

When Kai and Stephen got their medals, I was so happy for them. Their speeches (which they did themselves in front of 200 or so people, including their mums and brothers) were engaging, sincere and funny. It was good times and I’m happy that I was there to see it.

Today was about seeing family. Run Dem is the family that you choose, not the one that your born with. The bonds are sometimes even stronger than that blood that ties you to the people in your family tree. I was reminded of that today. Thank you Charlie and everyone at Run Dem Crew.