First, I want to thank Jean Knaack, Mitch Garner, Doug and Ann Kurtis and everyone else from the Road Runners Club of America who had anything to do with this!
I want to congratulation Ryan, George and Desi. George has probably forgotten more in this industry than I have ever learned and Ryan and Desi can run a marathon at a faster pace than I can run 100 yards down the side of a mountain. As I look at the list of people who have already been included, it looks like running’s version of being inducted into Cooperstown!
As such, I’m not really sure that I belong with this illustrious group but I suppose it gives everyone else on the planet a lot of hope! I really don’t consider myself anyone special. I haven’t thrown any touchdown passes in Gillette Stadium nor have I hit any baseballs over the Green Monster. And, I never even once won the Boston Marathon…in fact, I finish last every year. I’m just, Dave.
So, I’ve been asking myself over and over again, why me? I’m a true believer that there really is no such thing as an individual achievement or an individual award. However, I finally figured it out all…it’s like a trick…you are really not honoring me. You are honoring all the people I have surrounded myself with over the years. I realized early on in my life that I am only as good as the people I hang out with.
As a kid, I always wanted to be a professional athlete but I was always the last one picked or the last one cut from the team. As a result, I started running because no one can cut you from running. I recently saw a billboard that had just one word on it which finally brought to light exactly what I’ve known I’ve always wanted to be in life – it said, accomplisher. That’s all I really want to be – an accomplisher. Accomplish something, anything.
Years ago, when asked what I did for a living, I used to mumble, I’m a race director. A what? A race director. What do they do? Chalk mark in the road, yell go. Now when I am asked what I do I say I help raise the level of self-esteem and self-confidence of tens of thousands of people in America!
And, I even now actually tell people, I don’t work. You don’t work? Nope. I love what I do so much I don’t call it work. I often think how it is too bad everyone else can’t be as fortunate to follow their heart and pursue their passion.
So, after 150,000 miles and 50 years of running and after 37 years in this business of producing events, I’ve learned a few lessons:
- I’ve learned that there are no mistakes only lessons and that the failed experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiment that ultimately works. You only fail if you don’t try.
- I’ve learned that the worst injustice you could ever do to yourself is to underestimate your own ability.
- I’ve learned that those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.
- I’ve learned that the toughest part about running a marathon is having the guts to sign the application.
- I’ve learned that we should always set goals and not limits.
- I’ve learned that the walls of intimidation have crumbled and people are finally believing in themselves.
- I’ve learned that we all have an obligation and responsibility to help those who are less fortunate and that when you give you actually receive even more in return.
- I’ve learned that my best accomplishment is always my next one.
- I’ve learned that it is My Game, so it is My Rules.
- I’ve learned that the most important person in this room is…you.
- And, I’ve learned the wherever my car breakdown in this country, I’ll be able to run home!
Lastly, I believe all of us in this room have something in common – we all woke up this morning…not everyone else did. We didn’t have much to do with that but we do control what happens to us for the rest of the day. I truly feel every day is a gift and we should never, ever, take that for granted. This quote sums it all up for me…Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -- WOW-- What a Run!"
At the end of my life, I’d like to think I gave everything I had and then some, right up until I simply run out of time…which I just did…so thank you all very much this incredible honor. I appreciate all of you.