If you count the number of minutes I’ve spent running with this colorful group of people it would add up to a lifetime.
We met over a decade ago in a training program I started with a friend (Mike Norman) called Chicago Endurance Sports. We started the company to guide people safely and happily into running, through their busy lives and across finish lines. We met as perfect strangers and over the miles, turned into a family of people that to this day love and care for each other through thick and thin. That’s the power of the running.
Last Sunday, we gathered together to participate in The Color Run in memory of a very special running buddy – Elyse Barson whom we lost last month to breast cancer. A race where you start with a clean slate (white shirt) and every mile get sprayed with a rainbow of color.
She was the type of woman you wanted to be around – a lot. She had a contagious laugh and love for life and was game for any adventure.
We all explored the world together running in places like Bermuda and Key West and we made so many happy memories. Always looking out for everyone, Elyse learned to run and then helped new runners on the same journey by being a guide and pace leader.
Elyse was the first to ask how you were doing and the last to think of herself. One of our favorite rituals was to run along Chicago’s lakefront path and then head to breakfast to share the stories of the week. What shined most brightly was her optimism, for even in the darkest moments, she found the light.
She was the kind of woman that makes me want to give more, complain less and treasure every moment. Although there was a shade of sadness in her absence, the run was filled with the Elyse’s colorful spirit. She’s a young woman who made a lifelong impact on so many and we will miss her dearly.
Here’s to running gratefully.
Thank you Elyse for the miles of smiles and so much more.