The following four essays were submitted for the annual essay competition. All were judged to be winners!
I met Michael Ring right after I underwent emergency back surgery for an injury that left me with nerve damage in my legs and feet. Very new to PPTC prior to surgery, I felt awkward being in a running club when I couldn’t actually run. “Join Achilles!”, he said. “Nobody cares if you can run or not.” And with that, Achilles Brooklyn became my second family, with Michael in the role of the gruff but lovable big brother that doesn’t enable self-pity.
Michael helped me stop dwelling on what I lost, and focus on what I still had. His progress is a constant reminder that my only limitations are the ones that I create for myself. He’s taught me to believe in myself and inspired me to help others. I am proud to call Michael my friend and I look forward to the day that our defunct feet RUN across the finish line!
Beyond racing and training, we are inspired by people who represent the values aspire to: friendship, family, kindness, open-heartedness. Many teammates motivate us with their hard work and swift times, some by their hearts and minds, warmth and compassion. These are all embodied by a group affectionately known as the Wolfpack. Aditi, Aisha, Colleen, Selina and Trish show us the power of the relationships we build when we run. They support each other’s goals, successes, fears; they rally together; they celebrate each other’s PRs, careers, loves, new apartments; they console, advise, listen when needed; they’re unfailingly kind, supportive, welcoming. The Wolfpack is a diverse group that supports one another as training partners and in their lives off-road. They show us how trivial running is, by demonstrating the power of the friendships we make; they inspire us to be great runners and better people; they inspire me to be my best.
Why does a gal from Queens join PPTC? For several years, Anne Perzetzky was in my Galloway training group. I began running late in life, and often wondered if I would have to give up my sport at some point. By racing half marathons, Anne answered that question with a resounding NO!
Through PPTC, I met Michael Ring. A few years ago, I registered for a 5K in Prospect Park, but come race day, I wasn’t in the mood to get outta bed…but I did…and I was rewarded when I saw Michael run across the finish line for the first time since he developed GBS!
I also got to know Nice Guerrero. It was upsetting to hear about his near-death injury, so when he announced he was running the Suffolk Marathon, I joined PPTC’s cheer squad and witnessed his triumphant comeback!
All three runners continue to inspire and motivate me!
It’s been three years of competitions and a couple of gift cards, so I feel compelled to keep the tradition going. But in all seriousness, PPTC continues to be a constant in my running.
Running has its highs and lows. It’s usually enjoyable, but sometimes miserable. Running has been entertaining, educational and completely exhausting. I’ve recognized the incredible pay off dedication, consistency and persistency have. But more importantly I’ve recognized that I wouldn’t be where I am today without my team.
Running a route solo becomes colorful and exciting with company. Encouraging words and sage advice are rarely, if ever, forgotten. And when you listen, push and motivate it’s noticed. Finishing anything would never be possible without a multitude of people and army of support.
So Emily, Jennie, Shan, Juan, Tifenn and many more of you – I am eternally grateful for everything you’ve all been to me these last few years. It takes a village to raise a runner. Thank you for being in mine!