Every Day Is Today

I miss teaching.
Especially on days like today.

But, if I was… this what I would say:

You don’t remember. That’s okay. You were a baby. Maybe you were not even born yet. It doesn’t matter.

I’m not going to tell you stories about the day. You’ll get those from someone else, and from TV, the radio and the newspapers. You don’t listen to the radio, do you?  You should. And you should read newspapers too.

Anyway…

I just want you to walk a little softer today. Can you do that? And talk a little more. Especially to people you don’t normally talk to. Today isn’t a normal day after all.

And look both ways. People will come at you from the left and the right. Offer them a smile. It helps sometimes and if it doesn’t help… you will be smiling and that’s a good thing. We need more smiling today.

Less shouting please. No shouting actually. Open a few more doors. Don’t honk your horn either. Yield. Slow down for that yellow light today. Listen to some music.

Give out some hugs. Remember, you may even get one back when you do. That’s a pretty good deal.

Tell the people you love that you love them. Some words are more than just words. Love is one of those words.

I know you don’t remember that day 16 years ago. But you can remember that some people will never forget.

Today is September 11th for you and I and everyone else. But for some people yesterday was September 11 and tomorrow will be September 11th all over again. Every day is 9/11 for some people.

Remember that.

Thanks for listening.

The rest of class is yours.

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are you up for the challenge?

the bennett family loves goals and challenges, so we took inspiration from steve prefontaine’s pirate 1000 mile club and tweaked it just a bit to create our own challenge.

without further ado,  introducing the summer miles club.

Join us for a mileage challenge from june 26 – september 3. we have 10 weeks in which to run 100, 200, 300 or 400 miles.  (if you want a bigger challenge, let us know.)   we want this to be a fun way to get in hundreds of miles over the summer, with a slight taste of a challenge.  and because you get better at what you track, part of the challenge is to keep a running log.

here are the rules ::

  1. register and pay here.
  2. start running. consistency is more important than sporadic high mileage days.  be smart.
  3. fill out your running log every saturday or sunday using the honor system.  take a screenshot or photo of your log and email it or text it to us. please include date, distance run, location and how you felt.  (you can use emojis, number scale or words)
  4. only miles run or walked during dates of challenge count.
  5. at the end of the 10 weeks, if you’ve run 100-199 miles, you get the 100 mile club shirt. 200-299 miles = 200 mile club shirt.  300-399 = 300 mile club shirt.  400-499 = 400 mile club shirt. if you run 0-99.9 miles you get a “less than 100 miles club” shirt.

want in?  we know you do!  here’s what you get for your $50 registration fee :

  1. exclusive bennett-designed cotton t-shirt that you can wear with pride.  it’s a great conversation starter and proof that you belong to an exclusive club.
  2. weekly emails with updated mileage totals so you know where you stand.  (and you’ll know where others stand, too, so feel free to challenge your friends and family.)  we will also include a track workout, running tip, and a fun link for inspiration.  we may even sneak in a fun surprise here and there.
  3. option to attend track workouts with tammie one morning a week (time and place TBD, but likely wilson, OES or jackson track at 9:15am).  ALL ages and abilities welcome.  this is low key and informal.  bring a water bottle and a watch.
  4. we will host occasional, informal, low-key runs  where we will provide light post-run refreshments.
  5. lots of miles under your belt
  6. special feeling of being part of something fun!

*please get the advice of a physician before starting this or any other fitness program.  we are not responsible for any injuries or illnesses you suffer while taking part in this challenge. *

have questions?  check out frequently asked questions and answers here.  still have questions after reading this page and the FAQ page?  email us

so are you in?!

click here to register.  and invite anyone you know who may be interested.  the more the merrier!

registration closes july 1.

When the Result is More Than the Results

This is the picture. This one. It’s not the picture of Eliud Kipchoge crossing the finish line. It’s not the picture of the clock stopped at 2 hours and 25 seconds.

Even though that run was the single greatest effort I have ever witnessed…it will be this picture of the Pacers running and dancing down the homestretch to join Kipchoge, Lelisa Desisa, and Zersenay Tadese at the finish line that will forever remind me why I run.

And it will be the Pacers being the first to cross the starting line and never the finish line that will remind me why I coach.

It will be the Pacers, instead of recovering and preparing for their next shift, leaving the cover of their tent to line the fence and cheer as loudly as they could that will remind me why I am a fan.

It will be the the Pacers telling the Breaking2 team that even though their duties were done they would get back on the track if any of the runners needed them and that they would run until they couldn’t run anymore that will remind me why I love this damn sport so very much.

None of these Pacers will be listed in the results. But the result of Breaking2 was impossible without them.

So, this is the one. This picture here represents what Breaking2 meant to me.Because it is a picture of celebration. Not one based on nationality, tribe, or training group. Not a celebration of a result or a time on a clock.

This is a celebration of what happens when we are selfless instead of selfish. This picture celebrates competing with each other instead of against each other and it celebrates the risking of great failure instead of the rewarding of easy success.

This picture represents why we run. Because not only are we all meant to be runners…we are all meant to be Pacers.

You Only Remember What You Already Know

I went to a high school Track & Field meet last weekend. I needed to. Because I was tired. And I was worn out.  So, I went to the meet.

It was a beautiful evening. But it could have been terrible weather. It wouldn’t have mattered. I would have been able to get what I needed… a reminder.

If you find yourself beat up, torn apart, knocked down by life or work or your running just go to a Track & Field meet. If you lack inspiration or can’t find motivation go to a Track & Field meet. 

What you’ll find… is what you expect. You won’t be surprised. You won’t be shocked. You’ll see acts of sportsmanship all over the track and the field. And you will hear cheering from the stands, the track, the infield, the paddock. You’ll watch competition everywhere – real and pure and honest competition.

And you’ll see fear get its ass beaten every time the gun goes off.

That’s at every Track & Field Meet. 

Every. Single. One.

And as you walk away after that final finisher ends their final lap of their final race you’ll still be tired. You will still be worn out. But you’ll know you can get back on the line. Deep down you already knew that though.

You just needed to be reminded. 

A Little epic

My run today stunk. I was tired when I started, and once my body warmed up and adjusted to the run… well, I was warmed up, adjusted and still tired. Sure, by the end, I was happy I’d run. But I was most happy to just be done with the run.

Sometimes a run is just going to suck. For me, that sometimes was today. I know that I wasn’t running a marathon. I wasn’t pushing myself to the brink like the Eliud Kipchoge, Lelia Desisa, and Zersenay Tadese of Breaking2 will.  The run today wasn’t even the run I wanted to do. It was just the run I could do. But believe me when I tell you that today’s effort seemed epic to me.

I could have cut the run short. I could have skipped it completely. But I didn’t. I did the run and I had to break through some barriers along the way. To me, that’s what makes a run epic. Every run is a barrier broken. That invisible starting line we cross with our first stride every day? It’s a barrier.  Somedays it’s a pretty easy one to run through. Other days, that first stride is the most difficult of the entire run.

We need to remember that not all barriers are sky high. The most difficult barriers don’t have to involve racetracks in Italy and EPIC moon shot attempts at crazy times over grueling distances. Some barriers are way…down…low. Right at the start. And if you don’t look out, it’s the little barriers that trip you up.

So maybe the run I got through today – a run that started and ended crappy – doesn’t deserve to be called EPIC in all caps. But that doesn’t really matter to me. Because all caps or not, EPIC means the same thing as epic. And that’s what brings us all together as runners.

You. Me. And yes, Eliud, Lelisa and Zerseney in Italy pushing themselves to make history by Breaking2.

We are all meant to be runners.

Epic ones.

Growing Up. Not Growing Old.

Last week I hit the jackpot. I got to spend some time with some young adults. Strike that. I’d rather not use that word “adults” here. I was lucky to spend some time with kids. And these were no ordinary kids. You know what? Strike that word “ordinary” too. I don’t believe there is any such thing as an ordinary kid. I was lucky enough to spend time with some extraordinary kids.

These kids have dedicated a part of their lives to entertain, inspire and motivate other kids. Some of them sing. Some of them dance. Some of them run, play football, soccer, gymnastics and any number of other sports. Some of them open up cool things up and show you what’s inside. They make others smile, get moving, get out. And so many kids today need something or someone in their lives that makes them happy. These kids are that something, that someone.

They came out to the Michael Johnson Track here at Nike’s WHQ. It was raining. It’s always raining here. They were all jet lagged. And they were hungry. Kids are always hungry. They were tired. Tours and walking and listening and more walking will eventually even tire a kid out. But here they were at the track being introduced to a Coach that wanted them to run.

And you know happened? Did they complain or make excuses? Did they ask for shortcuts or whine? Did they say they couldn’t or wouldn’t do it? Nope. They’re kids. So they said “let’s roll”. And when I said in return “get ready to race the Rio Olympic Gold Medalist Matt Centrowitz” did they back down? Nope.

They formed a relay, lined up, ran their hearts out, cheered for each other & took him down. These kids reminded me that all that is great, brave, honorable and pure about us lives within our youth. And we all have those younger versions of ourselves alive within us still. We just need to smile, get moving, get out. We just need to be on more relays together, run our hearts out, cheer for each other, and we too can do impossible things.

We can grow up and not grow old.

When the victorious tribe left the Michael Johnson Track it was still raining and the clouds still blanketed the sky. But I swear the day seemed brighter…and so did the future.

When Running Away is the Bravest Thing To Do

I was at NXN – the Nike Cross Country National Championships – with my team.
It was the night before the race.
I saw Joan Benoit Samuelson coming down the stairs.
I thought “I need to make my move. Screw all these kids. They can get in line behind me.”
I broke into a jog.
I’m a firm believer in thanking the people who inspired me. And, shaking their hand.
“Hi, I’m Chris Bennett. I made a video of you.”
My slow run combined with the weird video comment may have set off some internal alarm bells with JBS.
I thought, “at best I’m creepy and at worst I can expect a restraining order delivered to me before the race tomorrow.”
Luckily, JBS is used to people coming up to her and saying or trying to say thank you.
Unfazed, shook my hand and asked my name again
(Probably for the detective she would be talking to later I thought)
“You made The First Gold, right?”
She’d seen the video I made!
(I made videos on YouTube for my HS athletes hoping they would become fans of the sport.)
“Yes. That one! It’s about your ’84 Olympics…Gold Medal…the Marathon…in LA.”
Speaking coherently was becoming a problem.
“Thank you for making that.”
I was losing consciousness but I knew I had something to do before I did.
One of my heroes just said “thank you” to me.
But I was the one who was supposed to say thank you!
OK, rewind…Joan Benoit Samuelson was my first running hero.
And it wasn’t because she did anything superhuman.
I’m not that inspired by the idea of “superhuman”.
I’m inspired by super humans.
JBS was my hero because she took the lead 4 miles into that ’84 Olympic Marathon.
And no one went with her. 22 miles running alone.
That had to be terrifying.
And at 7 years old there’s a lot about the world that can be terrifying.
But she ran brave.
Watching her race made me realize that it’s the scary stuff that gives us a chance to be brave.
Fast forward…
I stayed conscious and I said what I needed to.
Thank You.
I was speaking for the runner and coach I had become and for that 7 year old boy I was.
She walked away.
I walked back to my team.
They had a race to run tomorrow and were probably nervous.
And I wanted to tell them a story about running brave.

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