Sunday was the Grand Rapids marathon and half-marathon. Andrew and I didn’t run in it. We talked about it, but decided that the registration fee was higher than we needed to pay for a conversation. We decided to make up our own race and give away the registration fee. It would mean no t-shirts or medals, but it would give us time.
As the race day approached, it was clear that we weren’t going to be ready for the half-marathon we talked about. So Andrew plotted a 5.2-mile course and made up race bibs for the “First Annual Father-Son Pre-memorial Five Miler.” On Saturday, after trimming bushes, we set out on our run.
It was a clear afternoon with a temperature of 45 degrees. We talked the whole time, about work and writing projects, about running, about conversations, about the hills in Grand Rapids that are slightly more than the hills in Fort Wayne. We laugh about this experience being inconceivable for most of the 28 years we’ve been son and father.
Our “registration fee”, about the same as a five miler that happened in Fort Wayne recently, is going to buy some coats for some kids in an elementary school in Grand Rapids.
What would you pay for the opportunity for a one-on-one conversation with someone who matters to you? Would you pay at least a mile a day for 144 days in a row?
Relationship takes training. It takes working out individually. It takes building the capacity to keep up with each other, to challenge each other, to be able to be proud of each other. It takes finding unexpected common ground after decades of mocking runners. It takes adjustment to each other’s pace for the sake of conversation.
We’ll let you know when the second annual is. Maybe you can start training, too.