First of all, I think introductions are necessary: My name is Tim Strong and I’m one of Confluence Running’s *NEW* Brand Ambassadors. I wanted to offer this introduction as a point of reference for who I am and where I’ve come from (not the town- Endwell, by the way.) Where I’ve come from in my running journey, my brand journey, and life in general. I’m hopeful by reading this you’ll gain some insight on my perspective if I’m referring to a product, service, or the brand. I don’t necessarily consider myself a “runner.” So why did I sign up to be a Brand Ambassador for a running retailer? I hope this post and those to follow will shed some light on that.
I’m 36 years old and only ran my first 5k race at 31. It was the local 5K race in Endwell. As Community Development Manager for Visions Federal Credit Union, part of my responsibilities include giving corporate sponsorships and we just happen to sponsor this race in October. I lived on the race route and I remember seeing the runners go by each year on that Saturday morning crossing right in front of my house. I remember because I had to work many of those Saturdays and couldn’t get out of my driveway! I recall making small talk with the race director regarding the race and he invited me to participate. It’s in my neighborhood, a great community event- it made perfect sense. I did what any good Community Development Manager would do: I smiled, said that sounded great and planned to blow it off and not mention it again. Much to my chagrin, he reached out the day before the race to coordinate final details and once again mention how good it would be to meet me in person that morning…it was on. I have never run more than a mile!
I remember going home and telling Beth (my wife) we were invited to run in a 5k. She had run races. She ran 5k’s. She ran a half marathon. Beth is from a family who ran in races on Thanksgiving day (could you imagine???) What was I doing for all these races? Holding the bags and keys for all who participated, drinking coffee, people watching, and some cheering. Our daughter had just turned 1, and Beth hadn’t run a race since she was born but was up for the challenge. To add insult to injury- Beth planned to push her in the jogging stroller! I’ll skip to the end- my wife did great pushing the stroller and my daughter was a superb passenger. They even waited for me, who on more than a couple occasions thought about calling a cab (this was pre-Uber.) I finished the race without walking (which was my personal goal,) and they had donuts at the finish. In short- it was amazing.
I was moved by how positive and uplifting the running community is. Everyone was cheering each other on: spectators were cheering, runners were supporting other runners. No sport I ever played had this sort of positive vibe. The feeling of accomplishment and pride that came over me was indescribable. Oh, and there were donuts. I was hooked.
What wasn’t I a fan of? My finish time, how hard those 3 miles came, and how sore I was for the days following the race. As a relatively “in shape” 31 year old male, I vowed to improve my health and pace, all while making the actual running part of these races more enjoyable and less invasive.
That was the spark that launched me into this running journey. I am by no means an elite runner. I’m the “average joe” who rates races based on the post-race party, giveaways, and overall vibe. I’m the one that bases the races I run NOT based on the course, but more what happens before and after it. You won’t see me winning any age group awards, but that’s not why I do it. I do it for the donuts.
Stay tuned for more chapters that provide insights on products, services, brand and running life. Follow me on instagram @StrongTR for the play by play.