Why I Ran A Race In Honor Of Friends I Haven’t Spoken To In Years

Listening to one of my favorite podcasts recently, I was struck by something the host said about friendship. The topic was off base, considering the focus is entrepreneurship, but the conversation turned to the use of social media and over sharing.

The host explained how he’d just had dinner with two very close friends from college that he’s completely lost touch with for ten years. They connected again on Facebook, met up for dinner, and had an amazing time. It was a thirty second story that actually stop my progress on my backyard task of making the place look a little less like the set of Jurassic World.

Coincidentally, the entire life analysis came the day before International Friendship Day. Usually observed on the first Sunday of August, International Friendship Day is a day “designed to foster friendships and bridge the gaps between race, color, religion and other factors which keep humans from enjoying friendship with one another.” It’s also another way to sell more greeting cards, gifts, and a way to make people feel bad for ditching their friends over the years for any number of reasons.

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It’s not only a day to remember and celebrate friends, it’s also apparently a day to run races, because thousands of 5K signs littered my town for different races in honor of International Friendship Day. People are urged to run a race and dedicate it to friends old and new, remembered and forgotten, and people who just disappeared from your life.

So, I did just that — I laced up my ASICS GEL-Quantum 360 and ran a 5k race and thought about old friends the entire time. Friends I’d lost touch with over the years. People who, at one point, I’d spend countless hours with and knew every single detail of my life. For a little over three miles I recalled childhood friends, high school and college friends, neighborhood bros, former roommates and almost every person in my life who has come and gone.

Some of these people I’ve got no way to get in touch with and some it’s impossible to contact. Others I’m actually friends with on Facebook but sending these sentiments out of the blue is creepy as hell. In honor of International Friendship Day, here’s a couple shouts to friends from the past.

To my best friend in grade school, Matt —  You basically got me through eight years of Catholic school hell. We drank our first beer together, smoked our first Swisher Sweets together, took a couple five finger discounts (though for the record I was only the lookout) and had some of the most hilarious and random conversations ever.

To my friends in my old neighborhood, Chris, Brian and Sam — Chris and Brian, even though I never said it, I consider you guys my two little brothers. Sam, you were weird, and I think you became a pastor or something. I’m sorry if I had something to do with that path. I didn’t mean to drive you that nuts that you sought out a higher power.

To the friend I lost in high school, Tom — you passed away over twenty years ago and not a day goes by that you don’t pop into my head for some reason. If there is an afterlife I hope you’re one of the first people waiting to say hello. Man, have I got a ton of shit to tell you.

To my former college roommate, Kevin — Alright, I officially owe you about a hundred calls back. But we both know I’m awful when it comes to the phone. I’m going to call soon, swear. But don’t hold me to that.

To my fraternity brothers — those years living in the house were some of the best times in my life. Thanks for that. Going far?

And finally, the toughest one of all. To my good friend DJG — I’m not sure where you went, or why, but I get it. We all miss you, man. If and when you’re ready to come back, I’ll be here waiting. No explanation necessary. First beer is on me.

All of the mental reminiscing proved to be a decent distraction. I logged my best 5K time ever and came in 6th in my age group. I probably would have done better if the tears weren’t making it tough to see.

Sweat, I meant sweat.

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Chris Illuminati avatar
Chris Illuminati is a 5-time published author and recovering a**hole who writes about running, parenting, and professional wrestling.