An Open Letter to Our Participants
From Grant M Harrington
Recently I was scrolling Facebook memories and I came by the letter below in which I wrote to our participants at the end of 2017. We had just come off a banner year and I was full of confidence and excitement for the coming year. As I read through the letter it just reminded me of how much I love running, running events and all of our participants. These last 3 years have been incredibly difficult. If it wasn't for running I'm not sure I could have continued forward. However, during that entire time it was you the runner who kept us going and for that I say thank you. I invite all of you to read my letter and I hope it provides a little motivation and inspiration as we move into 2023. Each and every word of it still rings true. I don't know about the rest of you but I've definitely been struggling with burn out, doubt and stress in the recent months. Turns out this letter from 2017 was a letter to myself at the end of 2022. It also turns out I need running and everything that comes with it more now than ever.
It was January of 2004, and it was time for me to get clean and sober. For 28 years I had so many goals, dreams, hopes, aspirations and resolutions; yet, I would always fall short. This time turned out to be different and would change my entire outlook on life. Since then, I’ve not only been able to stay clean and sober, but I’ve been able to meet and accomplish many of those goals and dreams I once had.
When I was first sober, I was almost 260 pounds and couldn’t even run a quarter of a mile. I literally thought I was going to die. During an amends to my mom she challenged me to do two things. First, do everything within my own power so she wouldn’t have to see me in a casket, and second, to do an Ironman someday. With a small laugh, I said I will do my best. However, I had this new belief that if I could get sober then I could make it through just about anything. I could accomplish anything. I could take on anything. Even if I failed or didn’t meet my goals, I now had the confidence that I would make it through. I set out to take on just about everything I could think of, rarely knowing if I would succeed. From Ironman triathlons and marathons to starting new businesses, I have attempted things once I never even thought to dream of and the irony is it all started with a local 10K.
I can tell you that I have both failed and succeeded. However, in the end I would never have attempted anything without believing that I could succeed and that is my message to all of you. You can do so much more than you think you can. We very rarely take on tasks or goals unless we know we have a chance to succeed. Unfortunately, I believe that too many of us don’t even start because we don’t truly believe in ourselves. The greatest thing about running is that we can challenge ourselves to take on something we aren’t sure we can do, and when we succeed, it follows us through the rest of our lives. From work to life, running can show us that we can do more than we thought we could. Whether it is a 5K or a full marathon, I can tell all of you with confidence that you can. You can achieve something that nobody can take away from you.
Here at the Snohomish Running Company, our events are so much more than just about money or registrations. We truly take it to heart that we are asking you to come be the event and to fully participate. We are asking you to train, to work hard, to set goals, and to do something you might not be sure you can accomplish but you take on anyway. We believe we are giving all of you the opportunity to not just show yourself what you can do, but also show the people and children around you what they can do. We hold it dear to our hearts that each and every runner at all of our events has their own story. Over the years, I’ve had participants show me their scars from open heart surgery or even breast cancer. I’ve had participants carry their “before photos” across the line and show me what they looked like before losing 100 lbs. training for that event. We’ve had amputees to recovering addicts and alcoholics to people trying to qualify for the Olympic Trials or the Boston Marathon and more! That is why the Snohomish Running Company is here and will continue to do what we do. We want all of you to have the opportunity to tell your own story through running.
That takes it back to me. It wasn’t until I actually signed up for a running event that I was able to get back in shape. It turns out when you don’t make it about the scale but the journey, magical things can happen. However, it turns out you cannot run a 5K, 10K, half marathon, or marathon unless you sign up. It is the first investment, which transforms into a goal. It’s an investment into yourself. It’s that commitment which you make and hold yourself accountable to where we must begin. I ran my first 10k in 2006. When I first signed up, my longest run was two miles, and it was not even a continuous run. However, I completed that 10K and learned a great deal about myself in the journey and achieved something that nobody could take away.
2017 was an amazing year for the Snohomish Running Company. We had over 11,000 participants in 12 different events. We grew by over 25% from 2016, and we truly believe that this is because we take it very seriously that we are asking you to come not watch an event, but to be the event. We love our participants, and we love your stories. We look at your finish line photos and just wonder what this was for all of you. Was it a goal met? Was it a dream fulfilled? Was it a PR? Was it a challenge overcome? We wonder about your journey. We wonder about your path to that finish line. We know it was so much more than just 3.1, 6.2, 13.1 or 26.2 miles. Your path to the finish line doesn’t start with us or at packet pickup. It starts long before that day and we love that you chose to finish that journey with the Snohomish Running Company.
My promise to all of you in 2018 is that we here at the Snohomish Running Company will always be thinking of your journey in our promotion and management of our events. From the start line to the finish line and everything in between, your journey is at the center of our motivation and our hearts and this will never cease. With that, I only have one question for all of you. Have you challenged yourself to do something in 2018 that you’re not sure you can complete? If not, I challenge you to do so.
(Update) We did 9 events in 2022 with over 10,000 participants. We might not have grown by 25%. However, I couldn't be more proud of our team and partners for sticking through these difficult years.
Thank you to everyone who registered and participated in a Snohomish Running Company event in 2022. As for 2023, let’s do this.
Grant M Harrington
I know this was a long read. However, for those who made it through feel free to use my special code of GRANT and save $10 on any 2018 SRC Events and multi-passes in which registration is currently open. This code is only good through my birthday on December 31st so take advantage while you can.