Today is the B.A.A 10k run. Over 10,000 folks are running this race. The B.A.A. 10k is apart of the B.A.A medal medley( 5k, 10k, half-marathon). Many of my Black Girls Run Boston members signed up for the medley. There were close to 10 members who ran and volunteered. I had to come and support and be apart of the cheer squad.
I can count on one hand maybe two the times I have been the observer, the cheerer and not the runner. There is such a different perspective when you aren't running. You get to see everybody! The dynamics, conversations, and interactions are so different. The bonus, you get to see the faces of the runners. The faces tell a story. I can only image what my face looks like when running. You see the struggle, the push, the joy, the pain, the tired, the perseverance, and more.
Yelling their name( from the bib number), sticking my hand out, smiling at them, and yelling more words of encouragement, and even being a goof ball and dancing and singing. It was fun on my end.
Then to also see the wave. The running wave never stopped. From the start of the race (8am) the waves of runners kept coming, the wheelchair, elites, wave 2, 3, etc. When the last person passed us it was 8:30. Then we crossed the street because the wheel chair folks were about to cross the finish line.
I was cheering with 3 other BGR members and I realize what a difference having a cheer squad makes. When some of the runners passed and we had a conversation( kinda), I saw a smile or arms starting to pump a little extra.
Representation is important! The look on other Black and non-white runners when they saw us cheering was special and important connection. The cultural non-verbal symbols of appreciation were understood. One woman gave us the wankanda salute and we gave it right back.
Extra Bonus.......Desi( 2018 Boston Marathon winner) and Meb ( 2014 Boston Marathon winner) took a photo with us. Not bad for a cheer squad day