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Dave Griffin On Running: Imagination, Passion, and Effort

Dave Griffin On Running
Imagination, Passion, and Effort

Three-year-old Genny Cretella wanted to run a mile. Her parents, Vic and Cathy, were reluctant.
Genny had been to many races, cheering her father on to top finishes. Over the past year, she's even had the chance to cheer for her mom a time or two. She's felt the excitement along the course. She's heard the chatter of accomplishment at the finish line. So, as her parents would talk about upcoming races, she was sure she wanted to give running a try.
After much discussion, Vic and Cathy decided to let Genny run in the Winfield Mile on New Year's Day. The low-key nature of the event made it a perfect setting. When the starter said, "Go!" Genny watched her dad sprint off with the leaders, and she looked up at her mom and smiled. They were on their way.
The race was fun at first. Cathy, pushing one-year old Eddie in a stroller, encouraged Genny as they jogged along. It was near the mid point of the race that Genny got distracted. A pile of tires near the side of the road seemed very fascinating, and she stopped to consider them. She would worry about finishing the race later.
As Vic, who had won the race, jogged back to his family, he found them on the side of the road in deep discussion about the tires. After deciding that Genny's run was going to be shortened, Cathy jogged off to finish while Vic stayed behind with the kids. I watched as Cathy ran in, finishing nearly ten minutes behind her husband.
All the Cretella's cheered when Vic's name was called at the awards ceremony. Everyone else cheered as well, but no one appreciated that there was much more to the story.
You see, speed is a relative thing; so is distance. Fast and long for some of us is slow and short for others. What fills the gaps between us is imagination, passion, and effort.
None of this matters to Genny, of course, and, in time, she may even forget about this past New Year's Day. So, chances are, this column will stay folded away somewhere in the Cretella house. Someday, Genny will read it, and when she does, she'll remember a few important things.
She'll remember when her father taught her that you don't have to be young to play hard. She'll recall when her mom taught her that success can be defined in many ways. She may even remember some things she knew instinctively as a child but might have forgotten in the passing years.
Things like this; sometimes, you just have to follow your heart, and when the road is longer than you expected, it's important to stop and enjoy the moment, even if no one else can see the beauty in what you've discovered.
Keep dreaming, Genny. Keep following your heart. And, keep appreciating what you discover along the way.

Dave Griffin writes a bi-weekly running column and offers coaching to high school and adult runners of all levels. Contact Dave at

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