The only signs of life are the faint yellow and red blurs of infrequent traffic humming along the highway far in the distance. I am hyper-aware of every sound, every footstep, and every breath. Part of me feels completely terrified as my mind races through uncertainties and what-ifs. I keep asking myself questions. Why am I out here? Can I finish?
But another part of me – a bigger part – feels confident. Strong. That’s because of the five women waiting in a van just a few kays ahead. I may be loping by myself in the middle of the desert, but I’m not truly alone. I know that if I can just finish this stretch if I can just make it back to them, I’ll have all the support I need.
Every March, a few hundred runners compete in a 550km, semilegal, unofficial, and definitely bonkers round-the-clock relay race from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. The event is known as The Speed Project. Last year, I completed the trek with five other runners, trading off sections of the route on foot as we all headed toward the Vegas Strip in a support van.
Running is inherently an individual sport. It’s beautiful in that way because it can be one of the few times in your day that you can truly challenge yourself to be better. But it can also feel lonely at times. And as I realized on that remote, dark road, getting better is much easier when surrounded by others.
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