Dear Running: I Will Never Forget You

Gemma Krautzel is a senior at Unionville. The distance runner wrote us a "Dear Running" essay, describing her love for our sport in wake of the cancelation of the 2020 outdoor track and field season amid the coronavirus pandemic. Read her entry below.


Dear Running,

I just wanted to write to you during this period of chaos and uncertainty. We have known each other for a long time now... 4 years... 6 years if you count middle school. Throughout all of these years, you have brought me joy and pain. But the happiness you bring completely surpasses the hurt. These moments of joy are unforgettable and truly have been the best times of my life.

You have given me structure to my days and have transformed me as an athlete, student, and person. I have become more passionate, dedicated, and disciplined than I ever thought I could be. I have learned how to communicate as a leader, to voice my opinion, and to leave my mark on a program that is so close to my heart. I take great pride in being a leader as I was able to help mold the future of the team.

I've spent hours upon hours running, cross training, and racing all with the support of my team. And I would never trade these experiences for anything in the world. The long days do not feel like a burden or time wasted as I was able to see myself and my teammates improve, empower one another, and become stronger.

I've realized why I can't give you up, Running, and why I can't forget you. You are a part of me that I want to stay with me forever. I wake up knowing I will run today, not because I have to, but because I want to. Sure, there are days when I have little motivation and it is hard to bring myself to do something that will cause pain, but I always come back to you... why? I think it's because you give me so much happiness, confidence, and strength. You're a constant reminder to get out of the house and go do something meaningful with my life.

You have given me my best friends and my best mentors. My teammates and coaches inspire me everyday. They inspire me to be the best leader, best teammate, and best version of myself. Because of running, I make certain that I give 100% effort every day and nothing less.

I received news a few weeks ago that my senior track season was cancelled. My last track season--gone-- and taken from me and my other teammates. We are devastated. Although I'll never wear a Unionville uniform again, all of my teammates have contributed to memories that will last a lifetime.

You, Running, have taught me that I am strong-- that every single one of my teammates is strong-- and that we will endure this and come out even stronger on the other side. This journey has not come without difficulty. This journey has not been easy. I have encountered setbacks, like an iron deficiency, that have tested my passion and love of running. However, I never gave up on you, Running, and I have become more resilient than ever because of the challenges I have overcome.

After thinking and reflecting, I have realized that I will never forget you Running because I love you too much. I will always run. Run to relieve stress, run to be with friends, and run for me. Thank you, Running, for everything you have given me and for always being a source of stability in my life.

Yours truly,