It occurred to me today that my bib from the Philadelphia marathon did not have my name on it. This was the first marathon where I have not had my name on my bib, and the funny thing is I didn’t even notice until almost a week later. Yet while running the race I distinctly remember finding it odd nobody was cheering for me by name (besides my awesome pit-crew that came to support me). There were those who were yelling out my bib number, I heard a few “Go 1695” I was wearing one of the book’s shirts with the numbers 26.2 across the front, therefore I heard a number of “way to go 26.2!” I remember hearing the different versions of cheering while running and thinking it was odd nobody was cheering me by my name, but had no clue that it was because my name wasn’t on by bib.
After having the realization it brought a thought-provoking question to mind, since I was a nameless runner running past a bunch of strangers, what kind of impression and memory did I leave them with? There were those who saw me running early in the race and their memory would certainly be different than someone who saw me coming down the home stretch. Some may have seen me side-by-side someone else and thought I was running with a friend while others saw me tackling the hill with no other runners in sight. I was a nameless runner providing others with a nameless memory.
Stepping away from the marathon and thinking about life, what kind of memory am I providing those around me? Do they see a smile and a light that speaks agains the darkness in the world? Do they hear gossip or idle talk that signifies a life lived without purpose? We pass by countless people yet, each stranger offers us the opportunity to have an impact on their life. It may be a simple smile, or it could even be as small as making eye contact. Whatever the gesture may be being a nameless runner doesn’t mean I have to be a nameless memory.