The Final Finisher
I say this all the time, and my feeling only grows stronger. The running community is one of the most welcoming and encouraging sports out there….full of athletes that want to see others succeed. It doesn’t matter how slow or fast you are. If you run, you are a runner.
Finishing one hour after the Richmond Marathon cut off time, here is Nikkia’s journey….
Young, 24, decided over the summer to run the Richmond Marathon after she had fun running both the Monument Avenue 10k and the half marathon last year.
“It’s kind of like a gradual progression of nuts,” she said describing her interest in running. “When I moved here I wanted to focus on my fitness. I had just graduated college. I had gotten a new job and I finally had all this free time that I never had before.”
While she felt she properly trained for the Richmond Marathon, she admitted the experience was much different than the other races she completed.
“It’s a whole different animal,” she said about the 26-mile course.
Even though the big crowds had long gone home, Young saw her friends and running teammates, some of whom finished three hours earlier, waiting for her at the bottom of the hill.
“When I saw it… I picked up the pace and jaunted down the hill,” she said. “It’s the most exciting. I’m coming down the hill and there’s a solid 20 people waiting for me to finish.”
She called crossing the finishing line an emotional experience.
“Everyone is in tears. We’re all just a mess. It’s the end of something great,” she said.
She hopes her story can inspire others who are on the fence about running.
With the help of Richmond’s running community, Young believes she has found a supportive home, away from home.