The Flow of Friendship
RGS FREDDI CARLIP
(LEFT) AND SHELLEY HEASLEY HUG AT
THE FINISH AFTER RUNNING THE 5K TOGETHER.
SUE MATHIAS PHOTO
BY FREDDI CARLIP
Friends flow into and out of our lives. Things change. We
change. Life flows.
Running is different. Our running friends may be younger or
older; married or single; parents or not; male or female. Running
levels lifes road. We are all in it together--injured,
healthy, competitive or not. We may not see some running friends
for months, but when we do
its like we saw them only
yesterday. The connection is there, strong and unbroken. And
sometimes, our running friends become our angels, watching out
for us and giving us the courage to keep at it.
My Running Angel made herself known to me on the eve of the
Race for Womens Health as we got things ready for the next
Shelley Heasley is a true running friend, and not just for
me, but for countless others. Youve read her wise words
in this column. Shelley is always there to help at races. She
has boundless enthusiasm and energy. Her exuberant cheers have
brought home many a flagging runner with cries of, Youre
almost there; great job
Way to Go!
The Race for Womens Health was no exception and the
recipient of Shelleys giving nature that day was
Im forever grateful.
Shelley decided we should run the race together. She had run
Boston two weeks before and was still recovering. Shelley knew
my racing confidence was way down. I hadnt raced since
New Years Eve and my training was nowhere near where it
had been before my sign encounter last summer. Shelley
pumped me up with her race-eve comments: If Im slowing
you down, Freddi, just let me know; Were gonna have fun
Girlfriend, and enjoy the race and the people; Ill do my
best to keep up with you; You are such a great person, Freddi
and Im glad you want to run with me
This is the stuff that brings a person out of herself and
motivates, because, I realized, it would be fun. And my mood
At the race the next day, we lined up near the back and Shelley
again reminded me to let her know if she was going too slow.
Once the race started, she asked if the pace was good; not too
slow. I laughed as I pushed to stay with Shelley who was right
with me. Shelley kept up a conversation with me, cheered on other
runners, laughed and joked and told me how well I was doing.
I mostly gave one-word answers but felt so good; not because
I was running very fast, but because I was having a ball. I waved
at the people along the course and let Shelley know how wonderful
I felt, deep inside. She kept encouraging me and telling me how
good I was dong and how glad she was that I would run with her.
Before I knew it, we were approaching the finish and we kicked
together. Our time was about four minutes faster than
I had expected. I couldnt believe it; the clock had to
We hugged and I began to cry. It was a moment which is now
burned into my memory. Shelley told me over and over how well
I did and how much she enjoyed our run. I couldnt tell
her enough how much her running with me meant. And how our friendship
turned the race into something unforgettable. I remembered all
my mom-daughter runs with Marcy. Its been so long. And
now, through friendship, this race became more than just another
Later, Shelley gave me a beautiful card. The words she wrote
had me in tears all over again
beautiful, happy tears.
The last thing she wrote are the words I carry with me: Thanks,
Freddi, for being you.
And, Shelley, thank you for being you; a shining example of
friendship. Your inner light shines brightly. Im grateful
to feel its beautiful glow.