Dear Running: Somewhere Deep Inside We Embrace You


Delia McDade Clay is a senior with the Brighton High School girls cross country team. McDade Clay and her team reflected on their experience in cross country, sharing how the team has bonded within the sport in a 'Love Letter To Running' for MileSplit.

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Dear Running, 

It's us, the Brighton High School (NY) girls team. We want to tell you a few things before 2018 rushes by too quickly. 

First off, we want to thank you for teaching us how to work hard and accomplish our goals. It seems simple enough, but in practice it's been a long learning curve. As a whole, there are so many things you've taught us over the years that we can't truly explain in words. Just know that we appreciate you fully, wholly. 

But even more, we want to thank you for one more thing: For teaching us how to love.

You will never truly know how much we adore you. You might even think the opposite, as we greet you with negative, groggy grumbles most Saturday mornings. And yet, we roll out of bed and start the long run anyway. It's not long after when smiles begin to creep across our faces.  

We like to joke about just how much we hate you. We jog the daily warmup and utter phrases like, "Are we done yet?" and "This feels awful" and "Ugh .... ugh .... ugh," but then we go out and do it again, partaking in team drills. Our shared hatred seems to be a bonding experience.


"The love we feel for you is hard to emote at times, but it's always there, somewhere deep inside, ready to motivate us when we really need it. And when we finally find it within us, it is hardcore and steadfast: we aren't going anywhere, no matter what you throw at us. We embrace you."

Each of us tries to top the last. "I hate running more than I hate hot pockets!" someone always says, but we all know it's never true. Hot Pockets are so, so bad. We all laugh, and then we promptly take off for the day's workout. And I know what you're thinking--If we "hate" it so much, why do we stay?

Perhaps it isn't hate we feel at all.

Under the hot summer sun, it is you that we choose instead of a relaxing day at the pool. In the biting Rochester winters, it is you that we choose instead of the warmth of our beds. We choose you over comfort, because you make us grow. 

We choose each other, too, for that same reason. The "B" on each of our chests makes us sisters, and we motivate each other in ways no one else can. Step by step, mile by mile, we become a family that nothing can penetrate. Together, we are made better and stronger. 

If we are being honest, love isn't always pretty.

Love is labored breaths and hard work before it is sectional titles and personal bests. Love is grinding out hill repeats with gritted teeth before it is sprinting across the finish line in first with a smile on your face.

The love we feel for you is hard to emote at times, but it is always there, somewhere deep inside, ready to motivate us when we really need it. And when we finally find it within us, it is hardcore and steadfast: we aren't going anywhere, no matter what you throw at us. We embrace you. 

Our coach says to embrace the pain, embrace the moment, and embrace anything that comes your way in this sport.

Well, running, that is what we are doing. We embrace you. We respect you. We love you.

Thank you for giving us each other. 


Sincerely, 

Delia McDade Clay & The Brighton Girls Cross Country Team



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