As we wrap up the year and decade, I’ve become inundated with the “best of” lists being featured on television, print and in podcasts. There’s been best of music, actors, actresses, news stories, political moments, and so much more. As a runner, I began to reflect on my top five moments of the past year in our community.
Here’s what I came up with.
1 – Kipchoge’s Breaking 2: Ok, the INEO 1:59 Challenge. It is with such admiration that I can place this moment in my number one spot. My children and I set an alarm to wake up in the middle of the night to watch and see if Eliud Kipchoge would finish under 2 hours. The last two minutes of his attempt were exciting, inspirational, and emotional as he crossed that finish line at 1:59:40, holding a sub-4:34 pace for the distance. History was made as he became the first person to finish 26.2 miles under the 2-hour mark. This is a moment that I will always remember.
2 – Taylor Ceepo –During the 2019 Cleveland Rite Aid Marathon, 22-year-old Taylor Ceepo collapsed and died less than one mile from the finish line. A recent college graduate, Taylor was trying the marathon distance for the first time. The weather conditions were less than ideal with temperatures in the 80’s and high humidity. As we all stand at the start line together, we are a unified front, ready to tackle the distance before us, not knowing what the race has in store. We don’t know if we will cross the finish line, but we know we are at the start together. Taylor’s death brought the running community together to rally around one of its own.
3 – BibRave’s Tim Murphy’s Wrong Turn – BibRave’s founder and podcast co-host, Tim Murphy partipcated in the Exuma Half Marathon this past November. A prize of $500 was promised to the winner of the half. Tim took off from the start line, feeling great, despite the heat. He had several minutes on the first person behind him during the last few miles. That’s when he took a wrong turn and found himself several miles off course. He lost the prize money and gained his first ever DNF. A huge personal disappointment, but any first in running has to be remembered. I also had my first by DNF by accident and appreciate the disappointment this causes.
4 – Camille Herron’s Poop Incident – While breaking her own WORLD RECORD for the most miles run in 24 hours, Camille had a bathroom emergency. Eight hours into her attempt, she realized that she was having GI issues and needed to use a restroom at her next lap. Unfortunately, the stalls were full so she attempted another lap to maximize her time. Well, we all knows how this goes. Halfway through that lap, Camille’s insides had another intention and she let loose, so to speak. Despite the poop hitting the fan, Camille finished the 24-hour trial with a new world record of 160—-, breaking her previously held record by 5 miles. Strength and perseverance at its finest here. Plus, something we can all relate to.
5 – Chicago Triathlon’s Cancelled Swim – When it comes to our fine city, there are few things I love more than the Lakefront Trail. And, anyone that has run the LFT this past year has realized that the Lake has had a big impact on the conditions and availability of the trail. When race directors cancelled the swim portion of the legendary Chicago Tri, it hit me hard. We are seeing history here, just as much as we saw history when Kipchoge broke 2. As Chicagoans, we have a duty to love and protect our natural resources. Our Lake Michigan is sure going through something lately.
I realize that there were a ton of other stories, some even nationally headlined stories. But, doping bans, world records, and even new Boston Qualifying Times didn’t make my top five because they didn’t touch my heart. That’s the thing about lasting memories. Each one of the five moments listed above reached my life in a different way and I am grateful to have shared the year with all five memories.