Two years ago today, 14 women set off on a journey to run the Cellcom Green Bay Half Marathon. Training schedules were printed, registrations complete, running shoes purchased and commitments made. Sure we were doing it for my birthday. Even surer was the fact that everyone wasn’t super excited to embark on the training. Yet we did…all of us. Each and every woman who said they were going to – DID. At that point, none of us knew what we had started.
Coming off of two weeks in Florida where Fellow Flowers took part in the 26.2 with Donna and the Disney Princess expos and races, I can’t begin to explain how many times we spoke about these 14 women. It is beyond gratifying to tell women about them, to speak our story, which color is inspired by who, where the statements came from, how they were written, that they represent “real” women and “real” lives, that they aren’t just made up and that everything about Fellow Flowers came first from an experience. The flower came next, and just so happened to tie together what we had been shared for 12 weeks, perfectly.
Are all 14 of us close friends who see each other often? No. Do we all live in the same state? Nope. Have some not even seen each other since that infamous race day? They haven’t. Did we share something throughout that training that united us in a special way, deeply understood by all of us? Absolutely.
Women ask us all of the time, “How did this all begin? Where did you get the idea?” And the honest answer is really quite simple. We lived it.
This is why women get it, and why tears well up in their eyes when they read a statement that represents their essence or their own story. It’s why they round up their girlfriends to come and read the philosophy or all end up buying orange statement tees. It’s why a precious old woman reads the orange statement card, cries and buys a shirt and a flower to send to a dear friend and why an overweight woman who is there to cheer her daughter on gets emotional when her daughter buys her a purple tee. “It won’t fit,” the mom whispers to her daughter. “It will next year when you’re here running with me,” was her response.
There is power in putting something real out there. Something women can relate to. If this was made up, it could never work. We tell our story over and over again – with great and sincere enthusiasm every time. There is great power in sharing an experience.
To the Originals: It is an honor to speak your name, share your story, look at a color and think of you, see women all over the country wearing a color that you inspired and to see women not only “get it,” but who “need it.” I send the sincerest of thanks to each of you for taking that step two years ago. Please know how deeply and positively you have impacted others.
To all Fellow Flowers: May these women’s stories, the statements, our philosophy and everything Fellow Flowers represents continue to inspire you as you embark on your own training…in running and in life.
Clip that flower in and march on – one foot in front of the other.