From both sides now.  Yesterday was a celebration of excellence at the highest levels.  Today is a celebration of excellence at all levels.

During our Wednesday evening session at the Upstream the debate was of Olympic proportion.  Both myself and Linda are of the mindset that the Olympic Trials B Standard should be done away with, and in fact the A Standard should be lowered from its current 2:39:00 to 2:38:00.   I’ve tried to describe my reasoning for that in previous columns so won’t rehash it today.  Suffice it to say that both Linda & I have more insight and experience with women’s long distance running on a national level than anyone else you might bring the topic up with.

One of the regulars, Janet, has completed a single marathon.  Which is a great accomplishment.  She indicated that it was her goal to inspire just one other person to train up for and attempt this life changing experience.  We replied that we share that same hope and goal.

It is sometimes hard to convey just how much depth of passion I possess (and Linda too) for Our Sport.  How can we on the one hand speak of excellence Demanded at the very highest levels yet also expound on the joys and benefits that running at ANY & ALL levels brings?   I have long contended that I get as much or more joy from our work with the Omaha Endurance Group, watching these hard working runners achieve their personal goals and personal bests, as I do from watching Mike Morgan or Peter van der Westhuizen fulfill their own potentials.  Hearing from Carrie Dayton at the end of the Disney Half Marathon earlier this month may be one of the highlights of the whole year for me, her 30 minute pr of 2 hours a testament to the human spirit.  That I had some small hand in that achievement is something we will always share and celebrate.

And that is the key.  If any person is willing to work hard toward their true potential, I am THEIR fan.  Running has done so much for not only me, but many, many others as well.  I recognize that.  I encourage and nurture it.  I pontificate and meditate and study upon it.  And I celebrate it.

Today’s column is for every single one of you that get out there and bust your butts every time you can in pursuit of your own personal excellence.  It matters not what your times are, it only matters that your heart and spirit is just like the rest of us, demanding and giving the very best from ourselves, expecting nothing less.

Jody Green has been immortalized in a Canadian elementary school science book.  Chapter 11, figure 8, describing the various nervous system responses to physical exertion.  This picture is from mile 34 of her epic Leadville 50 Miler this past year.  Peace, Love, Run!