Posted by: David D. Daggett | February 23, 2009

On Course

On Course

      Are you on course for where you want to go? Saturday night we heard Blake Russell speak at the annual dinner of our local track club. Blake represented the United States in the woman’s marathon at the Beijing Olympics. She was a great follow-up to last year’s speaker, Frank Shorter.

         Although Blake is from town and was a local high school distance runner, we had never previously met her. We got to the dinner early and got a chance to meet Blake and her husband Jon before most folks started arriving. We were immediately taken with her charm, friendliness, and slightly understated presence. Now six months pregnant she looks great and is optimistic for her running future.

During Blake’s presentation I was struck by what she described as a journey. She placed seventh in the 2000 Olympic marathon trials – only the first three qualify. In 2004, she placed fourth. Finally, at the 2008 trials she placed third and qualified to represent the United States at the Olympic games.

Blake told her story in a quite engaging and even enchanting way, mixing in humor and human emotion along the way. I’m not the most emotional guy. Movies never make me cry, and sometimes I’m not very sensitive. But, the emotion of an athlete taking it to the limit and giving their best brings me to quick tears every time.

Life, like running is a journey. Sometimes we get going a little quickly, and as Blake described, sometimes it takes a while for our legs to catch up with our brains. In life we, likewise, need to realize we are on a journey. The journey has stages, and we need to take it stage by stage so that our metaphorical legs can keep up with our brains.

We need to learn to succeed, and to win, in life just like in athletics. Certainly, we need help along the way. We also have much that we need to do on our own. Like Blake, we need to stay on course to succeed and to reach our goals, and to be what we are meant to be.

Staying on course,



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