Race Morning- Runner, Greg Jackson:
“It was a cool Saturday morning and despite my nerves, at 6AM I got a call from a fellow DRCer to make sure I was awake and ready to take on the RockNRoll Half Marathon. When we arrived to the start, the first faces I greeted were 4 other soldiers diving into this early spring race. At the starting line, I recall having to cut my phone off because of all the good luck texts and the buzzing of the DRC #Cheersquad GroupMe as folks arrived at mile 11 to cheer us on.
For me, running has always been more of a solo activity where I tune out the world to some of my favorite trap songs, audio books or smooth jazz, but through DRC I’ve joined a village of ‘non-runners’ that coincidentally run all the time… And here we were, about 7 of us at the starting line among 18,000 runners from all over the world. Along the course, there were so many people running that every step I was passing or getting passed by someone new but with every stride I found myself keeping an eye out for my fellow DRCers. From drafting Tay at mile one to pacing with Carolina at mile 4, the group of 18,000 felt very small and more like a walk down my street of neighbors. At mile six we faced one of the toughest miles I’ve ever run and the repercussions of that hill threw me off for about 3 miles. But as we approached mile 11, I was anxious to connect with our DRC #Cheersquad on H Street, so I dug deep to push through for the family. To my surprise, there were over 20 people with the DRC #Cheersquad! With their music blasting, DRC gear branded, I found the group full of smiles and energy as we approached.
The Cheer Squad Experience- Von Williams
“If you don’t run….you must CHEER” and that’s exactly what we did! After receiving upwards of 75 messages from the #Cheersquad all details were set. When I arrived on H Street (Mile 11) the #CheerSquad was beyond hype. I felt an instantaneous euphoric high when I saw the crew. Bullhorns, cowbells, confetti, music, and our DRC flag – it’s a celebration! Celebrating all the marathon runners – especially our crew members. It was amazing to see the sea of runners that filled the street – young girls and boys, older men and women, American soldiers (running with the American flag), and even a few guest appearances from Spiderman and Chewbacca.
With a cowbell in my hand stamped with the DRC sticker, I got to work alongside my Crew. Generously giving out encouraging words, high fives, water bottles, and confetti showers to as many runners that ran across our paths. This party got real, real quick! “You can do it”, “You’re almost there”, “Only a few miles to go” – you would immediately see the runners faces light up like it was the first day of school and you knew you’re outfit was on point! It was instantly gratifying when you’d see the runners frowns turned into smiles, or their walk turn into a light jog, even when their hung heads lifted. You could just feel the transfer of energy from us to them.
We were tracking our own DRC crew members, so the anticipation grew among the group when we knew someone was quickly approaching. We had to give them that extra special crew love. One after another, we would see the crew’s eyes light up as they approached mile 11 – only 2 miles to go.
Finishing the race strong– Runner, Grey Jackson
Despite being exhausted, it was a blast passing the crew, as I was hit with confetti, greeted with water (which I threw back on them in excitement) and sent on my way by Cliff with the big DRC flag! Miles 12-13 were hard fought, but I felt like I had the whole team behind me every step of that final push. At the finish line, I quickly saw some of our fellow DRC folks and after sharing battle stories, we took a great group photo. After the race, we met up with the larger fam for a great brunch at Red Rocks on H street. I’m sure I had a few too many mimosas, but who better to celebrate a boozy brunch than my DRC running fam! After a heartfelt toast from one of the founders Matt, we all went on our merry way with our eye on the next big race…will you be the next one we celebrate!?!
I started running with DRC in 2014.
I wasn’t as active as I knew I could be, so I wanted to challenge myself and reintroduce a familiar habit and a onetime love – running. In advance of running with DRC, I had the opportunity to meet some incredibly dope individuals who were running with the DRC crew. They would independently (and sometimes collectively) say what are you doing Wednesday? No matter my response, I’d here “Come run with us” at the Coupe. After hearing discussions about the routes, the after run challenges, fellowship, and equally the “turn up”. I decided to at least check it out – their energy was too contagious not to.
My 2016 running goal is to become a more consistent and holistic runner; progressing not only physically but mentally.
I’ve been running with DRC since the early spring of 2015.
As a survivor of gun violence that was handicapped for six months, running for me is an empowering reminder of how far I’ve come in my recovery from a near fatal incident. Running is also one of my favorite forms of cardio, because it allows me to find a unique inner solitude in this busy city of ours.
My 2016 goal is to effectively integrate running into my weekly fitness routine and to complete at least 5 races longer than a 5K.