Wednesday July 7, 2021
TO: 2021 Afton Trail Run Volunteers
A few of you had a chance to meet him over the weekend, the new(ish) State Park staff member who is a retired Army Chaplain. Not having been on staff in 2019, this weekend was the first time he had been exposed to us, and our race. Late on Saturday afternoon, after the final supplies were loaded, and the trailer doors had been closed, a handful of us lingered and visited. As we chatted, he approached me, and we had a brief conversation. In that interaction, he said that what he had witnessed over the couple of race days, that what we do, (all of us, the staff, volunteers, runners, et al.) is “noble”. In all of my overtures and stabs at creative writing on behalf of the races over the years; (race recaps, volunteer thank-you’s and more), I have described what we do using just about every adjective in the dictionary, but I had never thought to use the word ‘noble’. When I got home later in the evening, I went straight to my computer and looked up the definition(s).
Noble, “Having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals.”
He mentioned how we come together to create this (each year, more or less out of nothing right), how everyone was elevated, supported and encouraged. How people go on to be better for the experience, and how they will go out into the world to touch others and do good works. When you have been as close to this, as many of us have been, for as long as we have, you can lose perspective – these were fresh (and trained eyes) and this is what he saw.
While we don’t want to break our arms patting ourselves on the back, this is the ideal at least isn’t it, an ideal that I think we live up to most of the time. I want you all to feel proud for providing the scaffolding, for people to do, think and feel in ways that they may not have just the day before.
Thank you all for doing this noble work with me – it is immensely rewarding, and as a bonus, it just so happens to be super fun.
Afton Trail Run