Any long-time runner can tell you that all running partners are unique. Some are simply perfect; everyone wants to run with them because they are entertaining and make the miles fly by. Others come from the bottom of the running-buddy-barrel; they may have never heard the word “deodorant” , wear alarmingly short running shorts, have really bad running-hygiene habits, ask too many questions during a speed session and so on. Some running buddies are chatty-Cathys while others appear mute. Some never let you stop to use the facilities while others always need you to stop so they can use the facilities. The list goes on and on.
As a seasoned runner, I’ve had many different running buddies; some were remarkable and I cherished every run with them. Others lasted fewer than 5 miles (and left me deserted on the edge of a river bank while they ran on ahead). But the best running partner I ever had was my friend Evie. The first time we went running together, she wasn’t a seasoned runner. Neither of us was. We completed maybe a mile and that was a stretch. But over the years, our mileage increased and we suffered through many long workouts together.
Evie didn’t say much, she just listened. She listened to me complain about the hard day I had suffered through, or listen to the gory details of why I had gotten in trouble and so on. She never complained of pain or pace and always kept a smile on her face. She was always ready to go for a run and never made me wait because she had just eaten or needed a snack or needed to hydrate or whatever. She never asked me to stop for water but in my opinion, she used the facilities a bit too often. She always forgave me when I yelled at her for dragging her feet and she even ran through the near-death experience of the time we went running on a humid 90degree day without water (I still owe my neighbor a thank you note for picking us up on the side of the road).
But all good things must come to an end and yesterday, I lost my best running partner ever. She had gotten old and truthfully, we hadn’t been able to run together for years. At the end, we’d walk a quarter mile and that was an accomplishment. I cry because she left me behind for bigger and better things but I’m happy because I know she’ll scavenge for unlimited food, fluids, and table scraps wherever she may be. Perhaps when my wound has healed, I’ll find another running buddy. Next time, I’m heading straight to the local pound. Because in her silent, smiley, and supportive manner, my best friend Evie taught me that man’s best friend is also the best choice when it comes to running partners.