As I’ve told you, on weekends some of the Gainesville runners gather at a local bagel shop after we run. Last weekend, Thomy stopped by our booth and slid in to talk for a few minutes. In addition to co-owning a cycling shop, Thomy is also an accomplished marathon runner. And in addition to being an accomplished marathon runner, he’s also a coach for boys’ and girls’ high school cross-country and track teams. He sometimes shows up for bagels accompanied by a happy gaggle of sweaty, starving teenage athletes after they’ve worked out or raced.
But I digress ...
One would think that a man who cycles, runs, and coaches would take his sports so seriously that his chosen topics of conversation would be confined to all things technical.
One would be wrong.
Coach Thomy talked about fun. Of all the good things running is, the best is that it’s fun. We enjoy it. We’ve never been sure whether running attracts great people or attracts ordinary people and makes them great, but it doesn’t matter. We decided that either way, the net result is a solid human connected to joy.
We talked about all the friends we’ve made through running, and all the couples that have met on the roads and married and now have children, some of whom are almost grown up and are runners too. (By the way, Thomy’s wife is also a New York City Marathon runner and their daughter is on one of his teams.)
In Gainesville, marathon running has created a community of fit, happy friends who have maintained tight relationships for decades now. Some have moved away, but have never left the fold. They have merely expanded the geographic reach of our family of friends, and wear our familiar Gainesville tee shirts in other places now.
Our lives are measured not by years, but by miles on the road. Our bond is not one of blood; it’s one of sweat and Gatorade … and probably good bagels and cream cheese (low fat, of course).
Thanks, Thomy, for never losing sight of fun. Joy is the Holy Grail far beyond any finish line. Good coaches know about running. Great coaches like you know what running is about.