The Power of Running Buddies

The value we place on our running buddies is enormous. From getting us out of bed in the morning, to pushing ourselves harder in training, to encouraging us to go the distance (when we believed we could never get there).  This became all the more evident between two BEXI buddies who trained together for the recent Canberra Marathon.

Steve Crosby shares his gratitude to his run buddy for getting him over the finish line – read his inspirational story:

If you have ever pondered the question, should you run a marathon? I would respond by borrowing the appropriate phrase, “just do it!”.

I had never in my life, ever considered running a marathon. I guess I had subconsciously discounted such a ridiculous concept without ever really considering it. Then one day pondering how I could improve my triathlon running, the answer just appeared. Train for the ultimate goal in endurance running, a marathon.

18 weeks later I was on the start line standing next to my running buddy, Belinda Gremmo, eagerly awaiting the starter’s gun to sound. The actual race is ‘only’ 42.2km. I say only because to make it to that start line I actually ran 587 Km’s. It is in these 587 Km’s that you forge the endurance, fitness, will power, determination and skills to run those last 42.2km.

Running is often considered a solo activity, not so when you run with Beauty of Exercise. The focus encouraged by Debbie Solms is clearly on improving your fitness and running ability in a supportive community and buddy based running environment. In hind sight my running buddy Belinda and I may have unintentionally taken that ethos to the extreme.

During training we are paired with one or several buddies that have a similar pace or fitness level. Then during the weekly runs you gradually get to know those buddies and them you. My experience has been that running with a buddy of similar ability has a wealth of advantages apart from the obvious ones such as good company and fun conversation. Your buddy can motivate and push you to run harder and faster. They can pick you up when you are struggling. They can support you when you are injured. They also make you accountable for turning up to training even when you are tired and it is cold and raining.

Prior to the marathon, Belinda and I had discussed if we would run together and we agreed we would start together and then run our own race as required. As it turned out after 18 weeks and 500 Km’s of running together, our stride, pace and even breathing was almost identical. Comically in the race photos of us, even our waving and smiles to our families were in sync.

The first half of the race flew by with easy conversation and great scenery. At the half way mark we were spurred on by our brightly coloured family singing, cheering, smiling, high fiving and holding motivational signs. What an awesome boost.

Later in the race there were several times when either Belinda or I were struggling with pain or fatigue and our resolve waivered. At those times the true power of a running buddy shone through, we were able to say just the right words of encouragement to get each other back on track.

In the end we crossed the finish line together, raised our arms in victory together and even hilariously stopped our watches together. We had achieved our individual goals together.

I loved every minute of marathon, even when it hurt. And my buddy Belinda is greatly responsible for that. Thanks buddy!

Next time you are running with someone, try to be the best running buddy you can, it may just help you get across the finish line.

Steve Crosby (& Belinda Gremmo)
3:58 Marathoners

Finish Line

Finish Line

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