Maybe it’s my age, being a modern parent, or recent events globally- but I’m feeling quite emotional of late. Celebrating the life of a fellow runner Steve Neary this week who tragically passed in a car accident got me thinking.
We are all striving to be the best we can be as runners. This philosophy often spills into our everyday life too at work, with family, and at play. At all costs we move forward to a goal- but what about others around us? Do we ever see how our actions can help or support or make a difference without knowing it? Small acts of kindness matter.
The funeral this week was an opportunity to celebrate the life of Steve – a Father, husband, police officer, hunter, outdoorsman, runner and all round good bloke. There were literally hundreds of people at his funeral who’s lives had been made better simply through knowing Steve- or even knowing of him onine. That’s right. People came to show support and respect to a man that they did not call a friend or colleague. It blew my mind.
I did not know Steve on a personal level yet had experienced his help on occasion when lost in the forest. He also told me “Its really good to see you out here again Paul” after I had taken a prolonged absence from the off road running scene, and he was at a Total Sport event. Steve never had to help or make such supportive genuine comments- but he wanted to. It was as important to him as the act of running and part of the sport in his world.
Hearing his Daughters weep and tell stories of their life with such a good man made me cry. I can’t relate to athletic greatness, building a home, or the two figure experiences of family life- but I could to the passion and commitment Steve had to being the best he could for his two Daughters and running being part of this reality. Running was a vessel to much much more than simply running.
Small acts of kindness really matter. Forgiving others and moving on. Saying hello to someone who is having a bad day. Checking your mates and Family are OK- and if not- it’s OK to not be OK! Hugging your kids and telling them that you love them. Taking a day off work to go on an adventure with your Family. Turning off that damn phone and being present with others. Saying something positive and encouraging to others. If all of us make a small gesture to care about each other this equates to much greatness.
Running does not define who we are. Being a runner is part of being who we are. Small acts of kindness matter and can be our legacy. On your next run say hello to a fellow human being. Smile. Be humble. You never know- it could change the course of that persons life.
Thanks Steve for being such an amazing bloke and touching so many peoples lives. Your act of welcoming me back into the running community will always inspire me to do the same and I’ll pass this on in your honour.