If there's one thing we strive to implement via our #beYOUtiful campaign, it's that every single one of you is important in your own unique way. Societal expectations bring us down. The comparison trap keeps us from shining. When we let out the power within, we truly make a difference. Today's #beYOUtiful blog post is from Ashley of Every Runner Counts:
Seven hours, three minutes and 28 seconds.
As a runner, as someone who participates in the running community, as an activist for everyBODY to be active—I am not fast, but I am fearless.
When I crossed the finish line of my first marathon, there were two people that I personally knew who were there to cheer me in, along with four volunteers. The finish line arch was still up, but everything else had been taken down and packed up. By mile 13 of that race, I was on my own for water supplies. How do you mentally prepare for that? My answer, you cannot. But you cannot allow that fear to hold you back either.
Seven hours, 36 minutes and 45 seconds.
During my second full marathon, I was a little more prepared for being alone—but I ended up leading a pack to the finish. At this race, by mile 17, all of the water stops had been packed up and all of the signage on the course routes had been taken down. I had home court advantage and knew the back end of this course very well. I didn't have time to stress about my own race and how badly my body hurt because I had people relying on me. When we crossed that finish line, it was a totally different experience than my first marathon. I was hugging people that were strangers eight hours earlier. We turned into a family. But once again, coming into the finish line, there was only a timing mat and a lady with a clipboard and a box of medals. No water, no bananas or pretzels. It was disappointing.
This is why I started Every Runner Counts. Why do ace organizers create such strict cutoff times? Why can't there be a soft start for runners that know they won't win, but want the chance to finish across the same finish line as everyone else? Every Runner Counts is trying to change that, one race at a time.
We shouldn't fear a finish line, we should feel empowered to enjoy the journey to the start line and understand that our fearlessness will take us to the finish line. Every runner deserves a finish line. Every runner counts.
Every runner is important.
Ashley's efforts with Every Runner Counts inspires us to continue celebrating all of the #beYOUtiful people out there. Her efforts to give everyone the same finish line experience align with our goals of diminishing societal expectations and celebrating our individuality, our unique hopes and dreams and, of course, every body. This is the essence of our #beYOUtiful campaign. Celebrate with us by downloading your own "I am..." sign, and shop our collection of #beYOUtiful Motivate Wraps.