After reading about the success of the Ginger Runner's YouTube channel (he proudly declared that he has reached 100,000 subscribers), I was reminded of the open letter that I posted online last year. I am so inspired by people who chase fearlessly after their dreams while staying true to themselves. I am currently seeking out my own life's purpose and felt the need to re-visit the motivation that drives me.
August 2017 -
"I cry. I cry a lot. I cry when I’m happy. I cry when I’m sad. I cry when I’m scared. I cry just for fun on a slow day. I am emotional extrovert in the body of an intimidated introvert. My favourite tears would have to be happy tears. I consider laughing tears to be a sub-category of happy tears and, truly, the best kind tears one can experience. To meet the daily needs of my happy tears, I am fortunate enough to be able to turn the loved ones around me. On days when I need that extra boost, and mischievous kitten videos don’t cut it, I look to films of people who are living out their passions and willing to tell their story. As an ultra runner, I tend to gravitate to watching running videos, as my films of choice, when knocking off miles on the treadmill or procrastinating in getting the sleep I so desperately need.
A few years ago I was introduced to the films made by The Ginger Runner by Jeff - my own red-headed adventurer. Ethan Newberry, the aforementioned ‘Ginger Runner’, is relatable, reputable and real. He has a loyal and vast fan following that religiously tune in to this YouTube channel to get the latest on gear reviews, race experiences, and special interest pieces on the explorations of those he holds near and dear. Many viewers feel a personal connection with him through the engaging way he communicates with the camera. Ethan carries out conservations during his filming in a manner that create a sense of belonging and purpose with the viewer, making them feel as though the film was made to appeal to them personally. His clever editing adds a dose of humour in its brilliant comedic timing. By segmenting snippets of the film, he creates this condensed and playful dialogue in his storytelling. These shorter bursts successfully make the longer stretches of uninterrupted film resonate on more poignant level. His clear adoration of his wife, Kimberley, is sweetly endearing while filming and showcasing her greatest endeavours. After watching most of Ethan’s films, I feel as though I know him and trust him.
Ethan, I should probably text you to see what you think of my new hydration pack and if I should run another 100 miler.
Shortly after watching my first few Ginger Runner films, YouTube politely suggested that I would enjoy a film by Billy Yang called Western Time. I decided to trust these YouTube fortune tellers and selected it as one of the films I would watch during my indoor training run. As I increased my speed on the treadmill, I settled into the film and was instantly hooked by teaser scene that started off the film. Sally McRae had just entered an aid station and she was hurting. She may have injured her knee and her dream of running the 2014 Western States 100 could be over. As the story progressed, I was so engrossed in Sally’s journey that I found myself cheering out loud during her triumphs and audibly weeping during her heart break. In the final moments of the film, as I witnessed her overcome her pain, I realized I had stopped running. I was now gripping the handrail of the treadmill, white knuckled, while I stood entranced by this phenomenal story that was so eloquently documented. As the credits rolled, I felt as if my life had changed. So much of that story resonated with my own in a way that was indescribable.
Over the course of the next few months, on and off the treadmill, I found myself watching everything that was made by Billy Yang and eagerly awaiting the releases of his new films. His films range from grand and thrilling coverage of major international races, to delicate and more pensive narratives. He presents an intimate look into the lives of those he features with such a compassionate respect while capturing the genuine essence of their journey. His films made me see the value in acknowledging your own worth. In truth, Billy’s work has inspired me to start writing and documenting my own experience…in racing and in life. I marvelled at how my running development seem to parallel my own personal growth. By choosing to share my journey of struggle and survival, I have made peace with many demons and found inner strength that I never knew I had. I have utilized Billy’s method of focusing on the positive and I continue to find motivation in each film Billy has made in how they emote such an artistic authenticity.
Billy, don’t stop making films about the beauty and courage of the human spirit. The personified truth in your storytelling is undeniably profound. Through this, you make us cry Billy Yang. You make us cry hard…with the happiest of tears, bringing joy and possibility into our lives."
Happy Trails -