Work hard, play hard, and inspire lots of people in the process

This post is about a week too late – but I’ve been meaning to publish it for a while!

My friend Scott started his journey long before I met him. But that doesn’t make him any less inspiring to me.

Ironically (or not so ironically, probably), I met Scott while running. We were running the Thunder Road preview course run last year and Scott and a friend just happened to be running behind me. It’s still a little uncertain as to whether he saved my life or almost caused me imminent death that day (likely both) but I got distracted talking to them and forgot to look for traffic. Truthfully, the “finish line” of Thunder Road was a mere .2 mile away and I was getting excited thinking about the feeling I would have on race day as I got to that point. But that day, Scott and I started talking – after the finish line I had 7 more miles to run and he had 5 more, so we tackled them together.

I learned a lot about Scott during the 50-ish minutes we ran together that day. I learned he’d only recently (within the last year) began running, that he’d dropped a lot of weight, and that this was his first marathon too. I also learned he had a good memory – when I told him the name of my web site and he said he would remember it and not need to write it down, I figured that would be the last time I ever heard from him. Not so!

Fastforward about a year, and Scott is one of my best friends. He’s not just a good running buddy (and cycling buddy, and swimming buddy), but he’s a good camping buddy and drinking buddy and dinner partner and – friend.

If you’re a runner and you don’t know him, you should. He went from being inactive to running races every weekend. To winning his age group. To dropping more and more weight every time I see him.

So, it wasn’t a huge surprise to most of us when he decided to complete 40 races the year he turned 40. I’m pretty sure he ran closer to 50, actually. It takes a lot of drive and dedication to wake up that early on a Saturday morning, put on a triathlon suit or running gear, and give up your morning (and sometimes afternoon, and sometimes weekend if he was traveling.) You’d think all that running would wear him out, make him cranky. But he’s generally one of the most cheerful people I know.

So, for his 40th birthday party, we all gathered together for Scottoberfest at Olde Mecklenburg Brewery. A few of us decided to do a little surprise for Scott – a Scottoberfest triathlon. But instead of exercise, we played bar games. Things didn’t go off without a hitch – the brewery initially said no, we couldn’t do that. But when we told Scott about the surprise we weren’t going to do, in typical Scott fashion he told us to buck the system and do it anyway. Awesome! It was a last-minute attempt, but we kind of pulled it off. Jeff bought games literally on the way to the brewery, Scott’s friend Michelle ran the games expertly, and I designed tshirts, which I based around an image of Scott taken by his friend Tara that seems to encompass exactly how Scott feels about life at 40:

So, happy birthday Scott. Thanks for being such an inspiration to all of us.