By Nolan Zimmer

I’m starting the process of writing these words while on a flight to the 2018 Club Cross Country National Championships in Spokane, WA.  I feel this obligation to remind myself just how fortunate I am to be on a trip like this.  Being surrounded by hardworking, fun-loving, blue-collar people makes this trip feel all the more worth it.  The starting line awaits, and I keep envisioning the crisp, Spokane air filling my lungs as I stand on that starting line.  However, I will not be alone.  Standing next to me, anxiously awaiting the sound of the gun, will be my brothers of the grind.  Some of us have only known each other for weeks, months, a couple of years, or hell, even days.  Some of us were college teammates, old rivals, or best friends since high school.  I know the same thing can be said for the women (the sisters of the grind).

You see, running does this crazy thing where it brings together people of various backgrounds, ambitions, and struggles, and enforces this unwavering bond.  In other words:  friendship.  Think for a second about some of your closest friends, or favorite people, in your life at the moment.  I am willing to bet some of them are runners.

What an opportunity we have to represent The Good Life.  Think about all of the tough people in this state, and what they represent.  They embody commitment, toughness, grit, determination, and a sense of humor that gets them through the daily struggles of life.  I truly believe that every person I have met, or will soon meet, on this team shares those same qualities.  I am beyond thrilled to continue embarking on this journey of taking running in the state of Nebraska to new heights.  With the merging of two teams into one, I am confident that more and more people outside of the state will take notice of the big things coming.

Those of you who are new to the team, I simply say welcome.  I look forward to talking to those of you I have not had the pleasure of meeting yet.  I love seeing the additions of new members each week, whether it be a young woman in her 20s who is in med school, or a 40 something year old man, who works full-time and has a wife and kids.  We certainly have had a surge in the number of young adults within the last couple of years, and I hope it continues.  I know each member of this team wants to contribute in a positive way.  From my nearly 2 years of being on this team, I’ve realized that there are some very unique personalities, but I believe that is what makes it all the more beautiful.  If I know anything about runners, it’s that they are some of the most embracing, loving, and weird people.

There is no doubt in my mind that the relationships on this team will drive each individual to their own personal successes.  I have seen it first-hand.  As amazing as PR’s, records, and wins feel, I would still take the friendships, laughs, and stories any day.  Keep attacking life my fellow grinders, and I hope to be in a pre-race team huddle with you all very soon.  If you just so happen to be in that huddle with Jacob Olson and I, you are certainly bound to hear the following words:

“There are good ships, there are wood ships, ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships, and may they always be.”

Friendship on 3!  1, 2, 3!

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