Recently there was an article in Running Times about Dave’s efforts to help the Raramuri/Tarahumara runners. These are indigenous Indians who live in Copper Canyon, Mexico. While they, as a people, have been somewhat romanticized in books like “Born to Run,” we find them to be kind, real, talented individuals who have hopes and dreams for their families.
Part of our efforts to need less is so that we can give to efforts like Dave helping these gifted runners do well at what they love doing. Dave has been in CO for week, already. He drove to set up a camp and to learn the 100-mile and 50-mile courses so he can prepare the runners for success. He has planned and worked hard to put them in the best possible position. He got the team together, garnered some help with gas money and lodging, solicited free entry fees (to be paid back if one wins something), owns the van that brought them from Mexico, bought food and set up camp. Now, he is encouraging them to “eat and sleep” to be ready for Friday evening and Saturday morning and a grueling 100-mile race for two of them / a grueling 50-mile race for the other two.
Every time Dave calls me, he is more enthusiastic. He has computed times. He has drawn the route. Then drawn it again, color-coded. He has organized drop bags for the aid stations. He has driven into Steamboat Springs to buy more eggs and sausage and bacon and beans. He has led and instructed the two Mexican support team members, Alfredo and Mario. He has quietly poured knowledge and inspiration into each of the runners, Arnolfo Quimare, Isidro Estrada, Miguel Lara, Horacio Qunitero. I see that Dave is operating at the core of his gifts, as well. He is listening, then organizing information, then presenting it effectively. He is serving, 24/7 for this trip. He is gifted in those areas….teaching and serving. It is why he is joyful through the rain and the cold and the long hours.
Run, Rabbit, Run last year was the first US race (and first trip to the US) for two of these men. It was harder than they thought and they were not well prepared. Dave has worked hard at doing all he can to put them in a better situation for this year’s race. The two new runners have never been north of their border before, but they seem fearless.
These four young men are learning to trust Dave. He is learning how to instruct them with the information they need to compete. We have understood that to ask them to “train” like other elite ultra runners do is wasted breath, so finding ways to discern, then supply what they need emotionally and physically is difficult. They are not inclined to change the way they do things, but they are gradually, gradually trying new things.
Winning the race is not the measure of success. Building trust, giving experiences, learning cultures, extending grace and love, joining in the dreams of others, watching talent and gifts be used with joy……that has to be our measure of success.