In much the same way people ask each other “How are you?” or “Kamusta ka na?” as a form of greeting, among runners the question is, “What’s your next race?”
We ask this compulsively, even if we’ve just finished a race. It’s kind of like asking “What’s for lunch?” when we’ve just had breakfast.
I guess it’s because except for the people we usually train with, we see other runner friends we know only at races. We want to know when we’re seeing them again, when we’ll share the road with them again.
It’s also a way of getting to know how they are, too. If your question of “What’s your next race?” is met with a ready response, you know that they’re training well and feeling good. If they answer with uncertainty or with nonchalance, they might be burned out; knowing this, we runners come together to encourage one another.
“What’s your next race?” is a way runners check on each other. Are we resting on our laurels, or are we setting our sights on new heights? Are we still finding new ways to challenge ourselves?
For some runners, the races aren’t important. They run for the pure joy of being on the open road, their bodies carrying them mile over mile over mile. For other runners, myself included, we live for race day. The reason we get up early in the morning or pound pavement after work is so we can toe that starting line with confidence, knowing we can make our way to the finish line, our hands in the air.
So, what’s your next race?