Standing at the starting line of the 2019 TOR330 - Tor des Géants®, I felt a wave of unease pass over me. I understood that a huge challenge lay in front of me—one so great, I couldn’t even fathom the enormity of it. I knew that if I made it back to Courmayeur, I’d have stories to tell. I imagined the bond I’d share with fellow TOR participants. I realized there was only one way to achieve this goal—not to look at the finish line, but to raise my head towards the next achievable goal. La Thuile. Donnas. Champoluc. And so on.Today, I have many of those same feelings. Unlike the TOR, however, we did not pick this challenge—it selected us. And this time, the consequences are greater. The emotions are the same, only deeper. The TOR, in the emotions I felt and the challenges I overcame, was a foreshadowing of sorts.
It was also a gift. Like some gifts, however, I recognized it only in retrospect. It taught me to move forward, no matter how much I yearned to stop. I learned to quiet the voice of self-doubt and fear. And I realized the power of camaraderie towards a shared goal. We help each other out—it’s in the very DNA of the TOR. Put to the test, also I realized I had a lot more in me than I ever knew. Now, every day as I arise, this knowledge is a priceless gem. Perhaps you feel the same way, too?Some of us are farther ahead than others in the challenge we now face. But our metaphorical Coumayeur will arrive, and this too shall pass. We will reach the finish line and then we will feel a new bond. Like the TOR, it will transcend countries, gender, ethnicities, religions. We will rest our weary bodies, hug each other, and celebrate another kind of victory.
Be safe out there. Wash your hands. Think of those less fortunate. If you are in a position to help, please dig down deep and do so. We’ll be back in the mountains running again before long. I know it.