Inspiration comes from many places

Last weekend, I experienced my first half-marathon.

No, I didn’t run it. I’ve never been a runner, and I certainly am not going to start by attempting such a long distance.

Myself and a few others from our newspapers spent last Saturday morning running the refreshment area of the Ogden Half-Marathon Classic.

It meant getting up around 4 a.m. on a Saturday to get to Wheeling before traffic was closed down, and spending the morning helping to pass out drinks, fruit and other items to runners as they finished.

At the same time, there were moments that, if you were paying attention, would have shown you some of what a person can do with the right motivation and commitment.

There were probably a few thousand people taking part in one of the races that morning, whether it was the half-marathon itself or the 5K.

As far as I know they all finished the race. That, in itself, is an accomplishment. But, then you notice some of the people who were running.

There is a group of individuals, dubbed “the Ironmen,” who have taken part in these races for decades. They are there every year, running the course through Wheeling’s downtown and neighboring areas.

There actually were many runners in that type of age bracket, people normally referred to as “senior citizens,” tackling the challenging course that would keep some people my age away from it.

That included one gentleman who was identified as being 92 years old!

I can’t imagine myself even being around at that age, let alone being able to run in a race of any kind. Yet, here was this man, who seemed to be getting around pretty well afterwards, and he had spent the last few hours running along streets, up and down hills, under a hot late-spring sun.

I guess it goes to show just what can be accomplished if you want something enough.

I don’t plan on training for a road race anytime soon, but perhaps a 5K on a nice, flat running area wouldn’t be out of the question … one of these days.

The last few weeks also have seen another ride by a group supporting Tri-State Christian Academy, who work to ride a little over 400 miles to help raise money for the school.

This is the fifth year for the bicycle ride, and it usually involves the same three guys. It amazes me every year they make the trip.

You see it all the time if you know where to look.

There are groups who work to raise money to assist those in need, working well past their original deadlines just to make sure every last penny that is needed can be collected.

It can even be something like putting in extra hours at work in order to get the additional money or vacation time for a special trip or activity, or even staying up late to work on a special project.

I’ve never really been one to set those lofty goals, at least not on a regular basis. There are ideas of things I would like to do, but usually I just look for things I know I can get to with some hard work and fit it into my daily life.

Probably the biggest goal I hope to accomplish someday is to go back to school. Before my father died, he told me he hoped I would look into graduate school and earn another degree.

That’s still something that is on my mind and I hope to be able to accomplish it some day.

I don’t know of a program or type of degree I might try to pursue, or even a school, but one of these days I hope it can happen.

A friend has been working on a similar goal in recent years, primarily taking online courses. He recently completed his degree.

I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to fit it in with everything else I’m doing right now, but I feel it’s a definite possibility.

If you really want something enough, and are willing to do the work, you can accomplish just about anything.

Whether it is completing your education, writing a book, raising a set amount of money for a special community program, or even running in a distance race, it can be possible.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)