As 2018 winds down and 2019 approaches and the blog has continued on, we’ve had a decent little following begin and it has kept me thinking of who to feature next and Artie came to mind. Has he been a lifetime runner? No, but he has been one of the biggest supporters of Team Runnin’ Not Walken we have and he has been with us from the beginning in one capacity or another. Sometimes a Run-Gooder is a great teammate and part-time runner.
I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Artie since the two of us were teenagers and he has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I’ve ever known. No one offers to help or goes the extra mile like he does. He also has one of the biggest personalities you’ll meet and if you’re not smiling or laughing with him around, you may want to check your pulse.
Since Runnin’ Not Walken was put together, in 2015, he’s only missed one race. In 2015, he was Cal Naughton, Jr., himself as a driver and one half of our two headed mascot. He couldn’t make 2016 but was signed up as a driver once again in 2017 and then we had a couple spots to fill and he volunteered to run. He made a point of it saying that he wanted to get in better shape and be a good example for his kids but then he changed jobs and with working a late night swing shifts, training was all but impossible.
Sometimes the hardest thing for people is showing up and doing what you said you would, even when it is difficult. Artie and I talked before the race about his running assignments and that if he could do just one leg of the race, it would make it easier on everyone who would pitch in to take the rest and he said he’d give us whatever he could. He had never ran a 5k before and here he was about to embark on tackling a Ragnar, even for a leg, maybe two. It was pretty amazing to consider but not as much as what he actually did.
The weather wasn’t ideal. It was hot and windy in parts but across more than 13 miles, he ran every foot. He wouldn’t come out. He didn’t relent. He wasn’t the fastest but that wasn’t what he was trying to do. There just wasn’t any quit in him and he was an inspiration to me, at the very least, because my last leg of that race, I didn’t feel great and I honestly wanted to quit a long the way but thinking about how he wouldn’t quit on us, I wasn’t going to quit on him either. It was awesome.
This year, he was back in the driver’s seat at Ragnar Relay Michigan. When it’s 4 a.m., pitch black out, frozen from the chill you caught earlier in the day, hitting the wall of exhaustion, have a balky hip that’s killing you, and you’re getting mad 2.5 miles into a 6.5 mile run because of everything just mentioned and you’re unable to make your phone work through your armband so that you can call him to drive back to get you because you want to quit, he’s the guy you want to answer the phone when you finally get it to work at mile 5. That was my experience this year during my night run and what he said on the other end of that phone took me from damn near irate because of how I was feeling to smiling through the pain and cold because of how quickly he turned me on my head. I told him, “I’m cold. I’m frozen. My hip hurts and I want to quit but I know I got to keep going.” and his response was typical Artie.
“Hey, were here waiting for you, cheering like hell. We love you and believe in you. You’ve got this!” It instantly took me out of my funk and despite still not feeling great, I plugged on and within seconds I saw the lights, in the distance, of the exchange they were at and a I went for it. I handed off and got in the front seat of the van and passed out.
I woke up later, about 10 minutes from where we were going to crash that night with everyone asleep as he was driving and asked if he were “ok.” We were all exhausted at that point. He said, “Oh yea! I’m good,” exuberantly. I fell asleep again and in the morning he admitted that he was struggling to get us to our spot but plowed through to get us there. So in customary fashion, he made sure we were ok, even if it weren’t easy on him.
Hopefully he’ll be back in 2019 behind the wheel because more of the below is needed and he’s the only one that can keep the energy level up like this for 2 days straight! You don’t see the smile on Michael’s face but when you hear that bullhorn going off, you can’t help but laugh and give a fist pump.
The video quality’s not the best but you get the idea