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A Wave of Grace

Updated: Jan 9

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

My friends and I gathered on Friday Sept 11 for a campfire dinner party with a theme of carb loading, pasta, salads, soup and lots of great conversation. We gathered to support Sue Shikaze who was getting ready to run her 4th Boston Marathon.

2020 is the 124th year for the Boston Marathon and it attracts over 30,000 people yearly.

Obviously because of COVID it didn’t run this year, and so many of the athletes chose to run it in their own community.

Saturday morning we gathered again at 7:45 with Sue, and her husband Thom. We were all there to help with tasks like replicating the finish line and being at water/ snack stations at kilometres 15, 20, and 30. Two friends were going to join her on their bikes for a few km and one friend planned to run the last 17 km with her. Her brother would provide great music at every station. Some would take great pictures to capture the stories. We all had a role to play. At 7:55 we all stood with Sue, at her start line, and sang O Canada together. Proud Canadians we all are. There was something very special about singing together for Sue, for our country and for all the Boston athletes who were running the event some time this week. The day was a beautiful one and we watched Sue run her 42 km along the roads, up and down the hills and on the rail trail. She had a goal and she worked every step of the way to meet it. Sue moves like a wave of grace. She is so strong, focused and dedicated. It was very inspiring to watch. So much effort had gone into the training and it was paying off. She had endurance to go the long haul. Every run is different for her and she has faced her share of challenges over the years, from cramping hamstrings or calf muscles to intense heat or pouring rain. She learns from all the challenges, digs deep into herself and carries on. She endures when it feels good and when it doesn’t. Sue’s support team had fun ringing bells and cheering her along, and we laughed a lot as we hung out together being a part of her experience. I think we all had tears in our eyes when she crossed the finish line with the time that she had expected. After a few photos were taken we headed back to her house when another friend had organized a wood fired pizza and cold beer celebration lunch for everyone.

When one of us succeeds we all feel the success and it was fun to sit and chat about her experience and ours. I have to say we saw a lot of people on the rail trail during that section of the run. Bikers. ATV’ers. Hikers. It was a great day to be outside in the Highlands.. It was a day we will all certainly remember. We felt as though we had participated in something really fun and special and I think we all left the event happy and connected to each other.

As I reflect back on the experience, I am aware that we would never have gotten to see her run a marathon , or support her to run, if it wasn’t for COVID. Sue would perhaps never have done a marathon in her community, in her own familiar training route if it wasn’t for this opportunity. Our group of friends wouldn’t have all the fun and inspiration if she hadn’t done this. I found myself thinking that we all have to help and support each other all the time, and especially these days. We need to look after each other. We need to laugh together. COVID is going to be a part of life for the next while. Like Sue we are all going to need to dig deep have endurance to stay strong and focused and safe over the next months. We need to help each other and look after each other. We all have the possibility to be a wave of grace for our families, our community, our workplaces and ourselves.

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