Donkey vs. Champ
These are two deities my friend Mark and I use to motivate each other in a race. We started swapping these trophies back and forth in 2012 during our non-stop triathlon days. Starting in 2013, we decided to use them for all of our competitive events. In order for these little guys to pass hands, we must cross the same start line. The winner gets to care for the champ until the next event!
Talking about motivation! Who wants to be the holder of a donkey whose ass jiggles when shaken? When we started this competition, Mark was always taking home the champ. In our triathlons, he would exit the water while I was making my first turn, and once on the bike, he was off like a rocket. However, when it comes to marathons, I usually am fortunate to travel home with the champ. While our wins are wins our finish times were typically minutes apart, but a win nonetheless.
I remember the first time I added the champ to my trophy collection. We were in the middle of an Olympic triathlon at Lake Mead, and Mark was a few miles ahead of me on the bike portion. I did not think I was going to pass him by, but then my luck changed. As I topped a hill and rounded a turn there was Mark on the side of the road – changing a tire. A split second decision had to be made…stop and help or find that finish first.
Needless to say, I went home with the champ on the sunny Nevada day.
It’s not only the trophies we traded but also the stories that go with them. These little guys are lots of fun to trade back and forth – actually, it’s better when I have the champ.
Today, over two thousand miles separate the donkey and champ, but that does not keep them from meeting up at races. When our schedules permit, Mark and I try to plan a race where we can once again brag…as the winner. The last meeting was at the 2015 Marine Corps Marathon, and I was lucky to cross the finish line almost four minutes sooner than Mark.
While Mark and I have shared many stories like these over the past couple years. It’s stories like these where I find motivation to keep running. Each and every race should build upon the last with strength training and speed. Taking care of the champ is a true feeling of accomplishment…training hard does pay off.