Written by Anthony Demangone
As you read this, I'm in the Emerald Isle.
It has been 13 years since I've been here. Back in 2004, I signed up to run the Dublin Marathon. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
I trained well, but I knew the race would be a challenge. For those who know me, this isn't a shocking revelation. I'm built for...well, certainly not marathons.
On race day, I came down with a cold. Cold medicine is a no-no if you're running a race, so all I could take was aspirin.
After starting the race, adrenaline kicked in and the first 16 miles flew by. But the cold started wearing me down, as did the running. Not to mention the fact that every race supporter called me "big guy!"
On mile 21, I hit the wall. Not only did I hit it, but then the wall tipped over on me. I remember saying to myself - there's no way I'm finishing this race. I started rationalizing how it wouldn't be a big deal to stop.
And then that guy ran up to me.
I don't know who he was - I can't even remember if he was a runner. But I remember what he said, even down to his Irish accent.
If you don't drag your @%!% over that finish line, you'll never forgive yourself. You can do it - just put one foot in front of the other. It isn't any more complicated than that.
And like that, he was gone. And I did what he urged. One foot in front of the other. Until I finished.
I thought about "that guy" the other day. Who knows where he is, or what he's doing? But he made a big difference to me. Without him, I would never have finished (oK, that time was pretty bad, eh?) a marathon. He probably hasn't thought about it since.
To him, I say thank you.
To you (and me), I say this. There are probably people struggling all around us. They don't always need a miracle worker. Sometimes a gentle nudge will do.
Let's all find ways to be "that guy."