The Longest Run

Travis died during practice. He was stronger than he had ever been. He was full of potential and life and his dreams were coming true. He was running better than ever. 

He still died during practice. 

We were all just kids. We were all 22 maybe 23 years old. We flooded the hospital. The doctors didn’t know what to do when we all showed up – when they had to tell us. 

They saw in us what we saw in ourselves – a never ending run. 

But Travis died.

Hearing heart muscles or an enlarged heart or too much heart as reasons for why it happened didn’t answer the question we all had. 

We knew why in the medical sense we just wanted to know why in all the other senses.

I still don’t know. 

Travis died during practice. 

I think about him on cold days. Rainy days. Shitty days when the idea of running makes you want to batten down the hatches and hide underneath the covers. He’d have run.

Travis was a pure cross country guy. Tough. Hard. Joyful. 

Thinking of him can get me through a tough run – a tough day. 

Travis died during practice almost 15 years ago. 

That was a bad day. 

But he would have wanted us to keep running through all the sadness with its crying. And the anger with its cursing. And the confusion with its despair. And the questions. Always the questions and never the answers. 

He would have wanted us to keep running like the race was never going to end. 

Like we all ran before that practice.

Like Travis did every time he ran. 

He would have wanted us to know that his death was not the finish line. 

Because there is no finish line.

Ever. 

And someday we’ll all line back up, Travis and the whole damn team on a starting line somewhere. The weather will suck and it will be muddy. Because XC in Heaven is real XC. Which means Travis will be tough to beat.

Someday…

Travis died during practice. 
I’m thinking about him tonight. 

And I’m thinking about teammates everywhere that are missing a teammate tonight. 

One thought on “The Longest Run”

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