Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Running Love Story...Ours...

When I met Kurt in college, I did not have any clue the young man I saw had an incredible strength and story.

I was a teaching assistant in the Humanities series at Geneva College; he was a transfer student into my discussion section. I told my roommates this is going to be a good year (with such attractive students!). I was quickly disappointed at his disinterest in the course - how could anyone not love this material! I saw in November on a board for rides home that he was trying to get to Lancaster, Ohio. To my amazement, he challenged me on that ride home to re-think my view of God and to reconnect with my dad.

On the way back from the next break, a huge snow storm rolled in that closed the college. Unspeakable joy to all college students! No classes and all our friends with no homework to be done. Bliss.

So being the die-hard runner, I decided to go for a short 4 miler and invited Kurt to go along. Never mind that there was 4 inches of snow with a layer of ice. He not only kept with me, he pushed the pace. Little did I know that I was running with the Ohio state champion in the 300 meter hurdles! He did not publish that information. And with his long hair and sandals in the winter, he did not fit my vision of a track runner. How wrong I was! He kept with me and then ran it again the next day.We talked for hours afterward in the student lounge; our friendship was beginning. My roommates, however, were so concerned they were ready to call the police because I had been gone so long with this unknown young man in the ice and snow. They practically tackled me when I walked through the door that evening.

From that experience, I was intrigued to find that Kurt had been a runner and football player for Fisher Catholic High School and had won the state championship in 1996. He transferred from Otterbein's excellent track program to Geneva, a track program in upheaval. It wasn't until our senior year that he would run again, this time as a believer in Christ. Running, in Christ, changes the dynamic of competition. He set a goal of breaking the school record for the 400 meter hurdles. He met that goal at the end of the season after taking more than two years off from running. The next year, he went to NAIA Nationals where he competed with Olympic hopefuls. He qualified into the 2nd round out of 3 and placed 15th in nation. We were married a week later.

We both have a passion for athletics, which drew us together initially. Our mutual interest in running still holds after almost 9 years, a million road races, two jogger strollers, and three children later. My love for him has grown a hundred-fold from the deep-rooted respect, which began that day so long ago when we went running....

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