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  • The Magic of RunLove

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    The Magic of RunLove


    by Cherie’

    Running is very personal and magical to me.  While Running does not define who I am, I am very much in debt to her.  She has never left my side for over 4 decades, and she has played a bigger or lesser part in my life throughout the seasons. 

    In the beginning, we met in an 8th grade P.E. class.  The gym teacher made us run a mile at the beginning of class everyday and it was fun to see the improvement.  I had terrible eye-hand coordination and  lousy flexibility and jumping skills so was really excited to see my mile time get faster and faster until I was one of the fastest in the class.  I was finally good at something other than jumping on the trampoline.  I was living with my sister at the time because I was starting to get in some trouble going into 8th grade and my parents wanted to remove me from that environment.  I was really homesick but running started to make me feel better. 

    After one semester, I moved back home and while I still dabbled in things that no parent wants their kids to dabble in, my new found relationship was keeping me somewhat on track.  Speaking of track, I joined the team and connected with new friends.  That moved into Cross Country and I became a year round runner before starting high school in 10th grade.  (I went to Junior High 7th-9th grade).

    I would love to say from that point on, Running kept me on a straight path to success.  However, the pressures of trying to fit in at age 15 were real and hard at work trying to drag me down.  Thank goodness that Running did not give up on me.  Within the first three weeks of high school I was running JV cross country.  Our Varsity team was the best team in the city…actually within the region of Texas.  The varsity team won the first meet of the season with nearly a perfect score. My coach was super excited as well that I placed first in JV as a sophomore.  Running was fighting for me, but she would have an uphill battle three days after the meet.

    My parents were out of town and had so much trust in me because of how Running had changed me to this point.  I wasn’t ready for that trust.  We had an open campus lunch hour and I invited 5 friends to my house where we drank whiskey and jello (jello to try and eliminate the awful taste).  I was to be staying at my best friend’s house who was a cheerleader.  I invited her as well, but she knew that was a bad idea. 

    Without going into all the details…it was an ugly afternoon.  We went back to school, I was a slobbering mess, told the nurse about all of my accomplices and they said that I was the only one who drank.  I don’t blame them…the deal was that if anybody got caught that we would not mention names, but I was beyond following “the deal” let alone district rules.  I was suspended from school and their parents told them not to hang out with me because I was a bad influence. Yep, the girl who won her first cross country race was a bad influence on others just three days later.  My best friend’s mom had to check me out of school and we kept it from her father.  My older brother came and picked me up while my dad drove home, leaving my mom alone in New Mexico to work on their cabins. 

    The shame hung heavy. 

    Three days later, my dad and I attended a school hearing to determine my fate.  The El Paso superintendent, school nurse, principal and vice principal…and my high school cross country coach.  It was decided that I would attend the alternative school for a year.  I will never forget my father’s face and I am crying as I write this remembering that detail.  Alternative School was for “bad” kids.  I had a few tardies, but never a record of “bad” behavior.  I made mostly A’s in school.  Did I tell you that just that weekend I won a cross country race?

    My dad asked that they look at my positives and reconsider and they said they would get back to him at the end of the day. (Today we have zero tolerance.  I don’t think they would even have a hearing…it would just be expulsion.)  My dad took me home before going back to work.  All the while, I was in the darkest place of shame.  I did not feel worthy to be in my family or on a team, or of my life.  Before my dad left, he told me that he was sorry.  He loved me and was proud of me.

    I hung onto those words all morning…afternoon…truth be told, for the rest of my life.  At the end of the day he called me to say that after further discussions with my coach, the superintendent allowed me to return to school on Monday.  The relief was like a flood gate being opened.  I never talked to my coach about it, but I never let him down again.  I never missed a practice and I trained on the off season.  Running gave me another chance and I was not going to let her down.

    She has given me different things throughout my life, but the most important was this second chance.  I do not doubt that she can do many magical things for each person to some degree. 

    This is what Run Love is to me.



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