Always 70 and Sunny
Always 70 and Sunny

Community Focus


Community is an incredible thing, isn’t it?  Whether it’s your school, your church, your neighborhood block, your family, or, basically every morning of the year, a group of guys looking to get a good workout, have some laughs and sweat until your eyes burn, people crave shared experiences…there’s just something within the fabric of our DNA that gets a kick out of doing things with other people.

By and large, those shared experiences are fun–8,000 people cheering at the Siegel Center at a VCU Men’s Basketball game, a group of competitors going around a racetrack in Daytona, a few hundred people rocking out to a band at the National, and, in some cases, grabbing another guy’s ankles, kicking your legs towards his chin while the sweat from his shorts drips on your forehead.

As said earlier, we crave shared experiences.

At 5:30 on Friday, July 8 a group of 16 F3 men gathered at the Mary Munford parking lot for the weekly Friday run.

While the building itself looked the same and the Tomatoes were still out there and the sun was up a little earlier as the summer wears on, that building, where F3 gathers twice a week, woke up nursing a heavy heart.

It has been a tough 7 days for Mary Munford Elementary.

My son shared a Kindergarten and 3rd Grade classroom (this past year) with this girl.  The Haas family lives on the 4300 block of Cutshaw and all week long, since last Saturday, that block has seen the community rally around it.  Yesterday, Betsy’s 3rd grade teacher brought 30 Monarch Butterfiles (Mary Munford’s mascot is the Monarch) to release in the Haas’ backyard with 30 or so elementary school kids cheering their flight and Betsy’s memory.  It’s been a week when the community of the near west end has been at it’s finest.

During today’s run, F3 jumped in a bit to share with the community lend their thoughts, prayers and hearts to the community’s effort in comforting a family who is going through the unimaginable.


A huge thanks to TYA for stepping back for this run and allowing me to Q, even though neither of us signed up to take it.  TYA had even laid out glow sticks (real glow sticks!) as he canvassed his neighborhood setting a trail for us to run.  We all undoubtedly look forward to the run next Friday where we can tackle Hillcrest and look for the glowsticks around 5:50 in the morning when the sun is brightly shining.

Speaking of TYA….here’s a snapshot of my favorite conversation this week…

Me: “TYA, how did you get all those bites on your torso?  Did you just get those playing ultimate frisbee?”  (this conversation occurred after yesterday’s pathetic display from all of us in the 45 Minutes of Dropping a Frisbee, errr, Mary”

TYA: “No, these are actually something I got when I ran into a tree the other day on a run?”

Me: “You ran into a tree the other day?  That stinks.  Was it on some trail run?”

TYA:  “No, just a regular road run.”

Me: “Really? You were on the pavement and then just ran into a tree??”

TYA: “Yeah.”

So anyway, I appreciate TYA stepping aside for today as we had the ol’ awkward Double Q.

The 16 guys started off and ran and biked, as a group, to the 4300 block of Cutshaw, where the Haas family lives.  From there, we took about :30 and said a quick prayer of comfort for the parents and a word of thanks for the 9 years God allowed us to get to know Betsy.

From there we headed to the “track” at Thomas Jefferson where we all looked to run a mile as fast as we could (or, in Saab’s case, however long he felt like).  The purpose was to try to see how fast you could run that mile.

Interesting thing about the TJ track…it really isn’t a track.  Who knew?  Someone get John Baliles on the phone.  The TJ track, in case you were wondering, is 25% sand and 75% weeds.  It may or may not be 400M around (although I think it’s close, based on my and Sippy’s mile times).

From there, the 4 Milers headed down Malvern to Monument. From Monument to Hamilton.  From Hamilton to Grove and from Grove back to Munford.

The 5 Milers went from Monument to Boulevard to Cary.

With the prayer and the four TJ laps, I’m not sure anyone did 6…but it was Strawberry to Cary.

Do you know what sucks?  Running three more miles after you hoof it for a mile on a sand/grass TJ track. Ugh.  Taking that turn on Cary/Grove was brutal. The 89.9% humidity doesn’t help.

In the end, my mapmyrun.com abilities showed to be horrible, as the 5 mile run was really 5.6 (sorry, Wilson).  But overall, a great workout, and none of us, I think, will have grass rashes on their backs from doing about 300 barebacked LBCs in the wet grass.

I do want to say thanks to the PAX today for indulging my Munford community and myself with the timeout on the run, I appreciate that.  The obligatory thing now would be to say  “hug your kids extra tight tonight” or something cliche like that, but I’m pretty sure we all do that anyway.  I’m not sure about your kids, but my 9 year old has a tendency to do goofy things and I have a tendency to correct him on it.  Betsy was known to be silly and goofy, wearing huge bows on her head and sometimes purposefully wearing clothes backwards.  I think I’m going to tone down the critiquing of the 9 year old for awhile.

I’m very thankful for my son’s school, our neighborhood, our church.  But this morning, I couldn’t be more appreciative of the community I have with the guys that come out of the gloom at 5:30 and drip sweat, run hard and drop frisbees.




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  1. THE Yankee Aggressor on

    Well said Marv and thanks for taking the lead this morning. It was a very meaningful run and one that we needed to do today, so I am glad you took control. I’m still holding back tears from your words in front of the house (especially thinking about the empty room).

    Run itself was brutal. I would have quit a half dozen times if I didn’t have Wilson and lockjaw pushing me home. The 2nd F can be powerful. I know it’s the reason I post so much. Thx brothers!

  2. Well said Marv and great idea for today. It was the right call and it hit home for sure.

    TYA – I agree 100% brother. The 2nd F is what keeps me posting for sure. And, if it wasn’t for BT and Lab Rat and neither of us wanting to quite on the other (and with the idea that we were running for Betsy) I would have bagged it at mile 3. But it felt great to push through and finish strong.

    Great work gents.

  3. Well done today Marv! And it was 6 miles – I might have missed a turn. Who knows. Thanks to Lock Jaw who kept the sound of his footsteps close! Kept me moving – I’m not competitive or anything! LOL I am truly glad I woke up and got in the car today! See you boys in the gloom for the next beat down.

  4. Great post and great Q Marv.

    Running after the 1 mile race was really tough. Thanks for hanging with me and pushing me. It would have been easy to give up without someone to run with.

  5. Back at you on that one Sipp. A couple of times I was about four strides from saying “go ahead, I’m going to slow down” but having you battle through the molasses helped a ton.

  6. BT (Big Tennessee) on

    T-claps to all the above. Powerful message today, Marv. Well done. The most powerful concept in my world the past few months has been that of perspective. Life can be and often is short, and we truly have to make the most of our time here. Love hearing all of the comments about being pushed out there by our brothers and at the same time not wanting to quit on them. That’s the real deal, fellas.

  7. BT (Big Tennessee) on

    …and thanks to Toga and Gumbo for making me keep pace, and for my sore legs.

  8. Well done today Marv. Your back blast summarized the thoughts that have been echoing through my mind today regarding our vigil this morning and Dallas. My time with the Pax is unique in many ways; particularly our inclusion and genuine support for each other as we push forward.

    Wilson and TYA – pleasure running with you today.