Monday, October 12, 2015
A little influence and encouragement goes a long way. Whether in a literal 26.2 mile race or in the race of life, we need one another to set goals, join the race, keep the pace, and focus on the finish while enjoying the journey. Okay, “enjoying” is a relative term, at least on Summit Avenue...
I’ve written and spoken much over the years about the need to receive and give mentorship. This month saw a unique convergence of the main mentor of my own youth, my big brother Tom Arneberg, and one of my most historically significant mentees, Jughead legend Selby Shlosberg. We all ran and finished the Twin Cities Marathon on 10/4/15! It was Tom’s first, Selby’s 3rd, and my 9th, and we all ran at different paces, but sharing the Expo, Start, Finish, and a post-race feast was special.
Selby (Jughead from ‘98-‘07) was the kind of kid who learned persistence through juggling. Her parents were amazed that she didn’t quit when she didn’t succeed right away, taking until her 10th birthday (five months into 4th grade) to “qualify” three balls. I then named her my first-ever recipient of “The Rudy Award for Persistence” in Juggle Jam 1. Tom (nine years my senior) learned to juggle at age 28, and his direct influence led me (at age 20, the year Selby was born) to learn to juggle and learn to work with kids, hence my dubbing him “the godfather of JUGHEADS.” Although Tom had heard of my seven marathons as of his 50th birthday, he had never been a runner until a wake-up call (his friend’s death and his own health numbers) drove him to definitively get in shape. Five years later, he’s down about 50 pounds, he’s twice backpacked in Philmont as Scoutmaster of Troop 72, and he exercises daily.
Selby and Tom each invited me to run TCM with them, knowing my year-round commitment to all-seasons running and to share with me their newfound joy (and Type A goals). The three of us are now more peers than mentors or mentees, but we continue to influence each other. And while marathons are rare events on the calendar, isn’t it a blessing that JH, like a family, remains a place where daily mentorship, attainable goals, and relationships flourish in all seasons to spur us on in our journeys? “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us...” (Hebrews 12:1c, ESV)