I crossed the finish line with a smile on my face and was greeted with a hug from the true spirit of the race: GORE-TEX's public relations director, Cynthia Amon. She waited for every competitor to finish and made us all feel equally special. I stayed at the line and cheered on the RUN3 finishers and teams as they crossed.
Taking it With MeI expected to run on scenic trails, but couldn't have prepared myself for the pure spirit of the journey. The Trans-Rockies organizers created an epic adventure chock-full of breathless views on authentic trails. I'd run through heat and desert-like terrain, I'd survived the epic summit at Hope Pass and I'd finished running freely through historic mountain trails lined with wild flowers and open meadows.
Climbing up the limestone mounds of my childhood, I'd only dreamt of an adventure of this scale. I was lucky to have my neighborhood friends replaced by like-minded runners this time around. Some ran fast, some slow; some raced professionally, while others did it just for the adventure. Although the clock defined our skills, it didn't divide the runners.
Every night we sat around our campfire (with real flames this time) singing songs, roasting marshmallows and sharing our passion to run and explore the world.
Every race offers a chance to learn and grow. Sometimes the lessons are unveiled through unattained goals. Other times, pushing beyond our limits allows us to discover unknown inner-strength. RUN3 challenged me to move outside my comfort zone of Midwestern flatlands, and explore the mountains.
I loved reaching the finish line, it was the adventure along the way that captured my soul. Through reliving my quarry days, I was reminded that a journey shared with friends creates memories for a lifetime.
Jenny Hadfield is a writer and running coach by trade and an explorer by heart. She spends her days thinking of fun and challenging adventures that lead her to live outside her comfort zone. She is the co-author of Running for Mortals and Marathoning for Mortals and is currently working on her next book on women's running. You can read more on Jenny's adventures at jennyhadfield.com.