My sister just posted another facebook status complaining about a road race taking place in the small town she lives in. She is frustrated, apparently, because the race put 700 people on the street and some of the roads were closed to accomodate them. Only people who have never run would post that kind of status. I’m not dissing my sister, but she doesn’t run and doesn’t want to have whatever she wants to do disrupted by those who do. Running has been a part of my life for the last 27 years, so that kind of status does make me just a little prickly, sorry, Ang.
Before I met my husband I wasn’t a runner. I had not ever exercised at all except for a few Jane Fonda sessions with the girls on the dorm hall in college. My husband did run. He also biked and did traithalons. We got married a week before my 23rd birthday. My gift that year was a pair of running shoes. For anyone who thinks that seems a little unromantic, it wasn’t. We had become involved with a couples Sunday school class at our church and they had a group who ran, called the Seekers Striders. One member of that group was my crazy friend Val, who has remained my friend all these years and is my children’s godmother. She had invited me to run with her, but anyone who knows anything about running knows that you need the proper shoes. We participated in a number of the kind of events my sister was complaining about. Most of them raised money for charity. We also just ran for exercise and fun. It was a social thing as well as exercise.Fast forward several years. I still ran a few times a week and worked out at the gym. My sons were in the 5th and 7th grades and a the mother of one of the younger son’s friends dropped her son off to spend the night and mentioned they had signed Jacob up to run track. The older son said, “I want to run track!” We signed them up to run with the local youth sport team and thus began the period of our life we are still in; spending every Saturday for much of the school year at a running event.
Both children run distance, which means 800 meters, 1600 meters, 3200 meters and relays of all those. The older one is currently running in college, the younger one just got to be part of a state championship cross country team. They both run cross country and track, so running is an all year event for us. My husband and I both still run and even the occassional race too. (He plans on running the Peachtree Road race this year.) I ran in the rain this morning.
Their involvement in track is what sparked the idea for my book The Time Of My Life. That and the fact that I was teaching kids like one of the characters in the book. Short description is this: Derious Cooper is an African American teenager at risk for failing and on the fringes of gang behavior. Evan Jones is a former Olympic hopeful whose injuries in a random gang attack have left him unable to run. When Evan starts coaching a high school team on which Derious (“Coop”) is the star runner, they discover that they are connectecd by more than just their love of running. Coop was a lot like the kids I taught and I connected with some of them because they ran on rival teams. The book is about building character and crossing racial barriers and meeting adversity. It looks like a book about running, and while running is a prevailing theme, it’s about more than running.
It is a book that is hard to classify. Is it general fiction? Young adult? I’m not sure exactly which catagory it fits best, but it is a book which isn’t limited to an age group. People who don’t run can still get something out of it. (Even my above mentioned sister says its the best book I’ve ever written.) It is about self discovery, making a difference and most of all, about hope.
You can check it out (and the rest of my books) at http://www.booksbylynnmurphy.com.