I am lucky to have many good friends who have been with me through different phases in my life, from going to school in a new town, traveling, getting married, having kids, starting and changing careers, etc… Every now and then I start thinking about a friend or relationship in my life, and I trace it back to its origin. Most often, the origin began with running.
I don’t consciously choose friends because they are runners. In fact, many of my friends who became friends through running no longer run, or at least not with me. We get together now for other reasons like play-dates for our kids, book clubs, coffee, dinner. Running is rarely what we talk about, but it’s a background of common knowledge. We basically understand each other.
One of my earliest formed “running friendships” began in grade 9. I was at a track meet waiting for my race and so was a curly-haired girl from a rival school and track-club. We started jumping on the high-jump mats (as one does in preparation for running 1500m) and it was instant friendship. Twenty four years later she is still one of my best friends.
Throughout high school and university I developed different interests and different sets of friends. The ones which have stuck however are mostly the ones which were formed around running. This seems strange to me as there are so many variants to my friends’ personalities and interests apart from having once been (or still being) runners. Some love to party, some are more reserved, some are funny, some are quiet listeners, some are numbers people, some are poetry people, some are parents, some are pet-lovers, some are peace-makers, some love personal drama. And don’t even get me started on the differences in their careers!
So why do I like all these very different and interesting types of people and why do they like me? I have NO IDEA! The only thing I can think of is that we were all once (or still are) runners. Somehow there is something in each other that we all GET.
Luckily I married one of these runner types. We met on the track team at university and used to run together a lot. Every now and then we’ll still go for a run together, but that’s not our main thing anymore. There are many different things that we do together these days, but I like to think it was all built on a foundation of running.
I hope to continue to make friends in life as I genuinely like people and benefit greatly from their friendship and company. I don’t know which friendships will continue to grow and last until old-age, but if my trend holds true, the ones which I’m continuing to make through running will be among those still there when we’re old and grey!