Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

March 3, 2014

Running by

Associated Press

CHARLESTON — During the last four months, I have ran the streets of Bluefield in the snow, wind and the rain. I have caught one cold and am currently battling a sore throat. This winter has played havoc on my favorite hobby. One can not run in a foot of snow or when ice glistens on the sidewalk. There has been many morning when I have opened the front door and stared longingly at the snow-covered sidewalk. I close my eyes and image the sun warming my shoulders, the smell of the neighbor’s flowers and bright green grass next to the sidewalk. But then the wind howls and bites at my ankles, reminding me of winter’s hold on the two Bluefields.


When I do brave the elements, I daydream about spring during the entire run. I think about wearing shorts, needing sunglasses, visiting the beach, what I want to plant in my flower bed,  walking in the park, riding bikes and more. Then, my mind wanders to what I want to eat for breakfast — warm oatmeal with bananas and a huge mug of hot coffee. I pass the rest of the time watching Bluefield slowly wake up. The buses roll down the road. Parents and their children stand on the corner, shivering in the cold. The early morning risers dart outside for the paper. They are used to seeing me run past, a few wave before the door shuts out the cold morning air. I run faster during the last mile. My body is warm, but my face is cold from the wind. I need coffee. I think about treadmills and spring one last time before I step into our cozy house.


A few days later, I felt spring. The sun warmed my arms and legs. I looked down and saw my legs instead of thick running tights. I felt lighter without the gloves, hat and jacket. Sweat dripped in my eyes. I wiped it away, trying to remember the last time I felt the sensation. October maybe? This time, the city of Bluefield was alive. Residents were cleaning their car, washing off salt and dirt from the recent storm. I heard children’s laughter and dogs barking with excitement. I passed walkers and runners on every street. It was odd, I thought. I could see the collision of two seasons. A winter landscape — snow still clung in the shadows — filled with the promise of spring.


A new season of Run for God started last week too. Ninety-six runners and walkers showed up on Saturday morning in Princeton. The beginners looked nervous and gripped their water bottles. Seasoned runners stretched out their legs, smiling in anticipation. Encouragement flowed back and forth. It is a walk-to-run program designed to help people run their first 5k with a Christian emphasis. This is why I have been running through the winter. One of the best things about running is helping others discover the hobby or reach a goal like a 5k. But in order to lead and encourage, I need to lead by example. In March and April, the weather doesn’t always cooperate. Snow will come even if the daffodils are pushing up toward the sky. We will run. I can’t shut the front door or crawl back into a warm bed. After all, a commitment to run for God and others is stronger than any snow storm. By May, the snow will be a distance memory and we will be standing on the promise of spring.

Jamie Null is the Lifestyle editor of the Daily Telegraph. Contact her at or on Twitter @BDTParsell.