Everyday I ride, I discover something about myself, my community, my journey…and the beacons along this path.
Tonight I made time for a short practice ride. Although only 18 miles along a route that I know so well that it is burned into my mind, and though–in this case–I choose the road most traveled, I still find the beauty of a new road of insight so to speak… or at least a new day and experience that allows for a new perspective on that road.
Nearing the end of my training ride, I happened upon a mob of runners near the Davis Square T stop. I recognized instantly that this might be the Somerville Road Runners. Every Monday night, The Road Runners host a Bur-Run in which any runner is welcome to meet up at The Burren in Davis Square at6:45pm for a 5K “fun run.” They welcome all skill levels and even non-members.
What was significant about this?
Well–for a moment, I remembered an inspiration in my life. A man with whom I had the good fortune of knowing through my work at the Cambridge Arts Council. A man who encouraged me in a very quiet but supportive way to pursue my interest in solo sports. A man who introduced me to some of my favorite Boston-area road races, Steve Burton.
How ironic was it that he passed away (kidney cancer) just one week prior to the Cambridge River Festival (CRF), the event that brought this hero into my life!
The Somerville Road Runners’ Site has this to say about Steve:
He had time for every runner who sought his advice, and gave freely of his knowledge to anyone who enjoyed or sought to enjoy the sport. Under his tutelage and largely because of his talents and his grace, the club and team flourished….Fortitudine Vincimus (By endurance we conquer).
And this is so true! He noticed the slightest of change in my gate and had a rare intuition that I had started running–and that I was a newbie to this sport. He quizzed me gently. Steve was curious to know about my shoes, how far I ran, how fast, my stretches…then gave me some quick pointers and suggestions. While some might have come across intrusive or bossy in such a scenerio, Coach Burton was nothing but a kind and sympathetic guide.
Later, when I injured my foot running, he coached me on how I could take care of myself and mend quickly–and encouraged me to not be afraid to continue running…though I might have to slow my pace and listen more to my body. True to his eulogy, “Fortitudine Vincimus (By endurance we conquer).”
It was a small gesture and our relationship did not go much beyond our working relationship at the Cambridge Arts Council, but it is one that I will always remember.
The last time I saw Steve was in April of 2004 during the Boston Marathon. I like to position myself at the last mile in Kenmore Square to cheer my lungs out and send every last ounce of energy I have to the runners for that last mile. There I was…whooping and hollering with uncontrollable tears streaming down my face (I’m a sucker for this event, really!)…and then I saw Steve. I bellowed his name and we made brief eye contact while he shared a pained smile…he was almost there.
We are lucky to have lights on our path in life like those that shine from people like Steve. I look forward in participating in one of the Bur-Run’s one day when I no longer have my century training rides as an excuse! I know that Coach Burton’s advice and warm smile will gently encourage me along the way.
This is an entry from th adventurous, thoughtful and occasionally humorous journal of my training escapades in preparation for two great century bike rides: Harbor to the Bay and El Tour de Tucson. To find out more information or to make a pledge, visit our home blog, The Amazing Adventures of Two Girls on a Bike.