Running is a fairly large part of our Team FinKraft. It’s a whole different group of athletes of course from the rest of the team, with all the cyclists that FinKraft might be more known for. But our runners train as hard and race a lot throughout the whole year, local events mixed with bigger marathons and national events.
Running a 5K or a marathon can be all about your own PR, time and placing, but running can be as much of a team sport as any other—if you take the “I” and the “me” away from it. Here is a great story from last weekend’s Steam Town Marathon by Stephen Katz that is proof of this philosophy we strive for at Team FinKraft on all levels and all the sports we do.
“This past weekend, I ran the Steamtown Marathon. No, wait. Let me correct that. Team Finkraft ran the Steamtown Marathon. While most people would consider running a marathon to be an individual endeavor, this weekend clearly disproved that notion. The success of the weekend was a team success made possible by the support of our coach, Roger Aspholm, by the support of the fellow runners racing this weekend, and by the support of the families that were there to enthusiastically cheer us on.
The ability to run a marathon does not happen overnight. It takes months of dedication with many highs and lows, making it very difficult to achieve success without a great support system around you. This is where the importance of a team cannot be overstated. Starting at the top, when a team has a coach such as Roger, who carefully selects the team for the right chemistry and puts together training plans in which you have 100% confidence, it makes it infinitely easier to train and execute. The team provides motivation and accountability. Knowing your teammates will be out there to suffer with you through a cold and dreary winter or a blistering hot and humid summer provides that extra motivation to get out there and train and the accountability to be there to support your teammates. The quality of training is superior in the proper team setting. With supportive and motivating teammates, you can count on that extra push to go fast on hard runs or the proper discipline to hold back during easy runs, when it’s all too easy to stray off the plan. Equally as important, is knowing that you can count on your teammates for a great laugh and a good time whether in training or racing, and that keeps you coming back for more. Believe it or not, we do this craziness for fun and being with fun teammates, with whom you want to spend your time, is very much the best part of the entire marathon experience.
This weekend, when Team Finkraft descended upon Scranton for the Steamtown Marathon, it was abundantly clear that this was a cohesive team, ready to fire on all cylinders. The camaraderie of teammates and their families helped to alleviate all the pre-race jitters and nerves. As the weekend progressed through team dinners (big thank you to Kim Aspholm for arranging them and for being the official, unofficial guide and ambassador for the Steamtown Marathon), pre-race runs and packet pick-up, I felt a sense of confidence from from knowing I was part of this incredibly talented and dedicated group of racers, who wanted nothing but success for each other.
Race day came finally came. After a bus ride to Forest City High School, we all met up and had one last hangout in the gym. We headed outside for a quick warm up, we said our “goodbyes and good lucks” and then we lined up in various locations behind the start line according to our predicted pacing strategy. Fortunately, one of my teammates, LT, was looking to run around the same pace as me. So, we figured we’d start together and try to work together and pace each other. Before we knew it, “Boom!” the start canon went off and we were on our way. It usually takes the first few miles for my legs to open up and for me to settle into a comfort zone. Yesterday, that just wasn’t happening and I knew, after those first few miles, that I was going to have to really work and dig deep to get the job done. As it turned out, LT was feeling the same. As the race unfolded, it became more and more apparent that working together as a team, we could accomplish something that we could not have done on our own. There was no way I could have run the time I ran, let alone even finished, without LT’s incredible teamwork”