Anyone who has seen Beau Seegmiller arrive at a BAR event with his characteristically joyful smile knows that Beau loves being part of a running community. He joined the BAR six months after moving to the Treasure Valley, and immediately found rewarding personal connections.
Beau founded a running club in eastern Idaho, and was part of a club when he was in graduate school in Arizona, so he had high expectations when he showed up for his first BAR event. “Runners are the best people. It’s the people that make running so joyful.” The BAR lived up to his expectations, and within a few weeks of coming out to group runs, Beau was hooked. From the training benefits of running with others, to the nearly immediate friendships running allows him to form, Beau is dedicated to the group and enjoys supporting others as they stride towards meeting their running goals through the BAR.
In addition to running for the social benefits, Beau is committed to marathon training. He explains, “Nothing captures my sense of self and meaning like running. The marathon itself has come to be the quintessential metaphor for a life journey and all of its challenges.” Beau balances his dedication and work ethic with a willingness to adjust and back off if fatigue or precursors of injury warrant.
The day before his 18th marathon (Onward Shay, October 30, 2016), Beau reflected that he doesn’t run to be healthy or keep his weight under control. “I definitely don’t run because it is convenient (it isn’t). I realized recently I would be running just like I do even if it was bad for me. There is something about the transformation that takes place in a build up for a big race that is intoxicating. And then, running a race, truly running a race to the limits, brings me smack up to the edge of my very existence. Sometimes I have been able to peek over the edge into that abyss of nothingness and it thrills me. Running, it is the stuff of life and death and I can’t help myself.”
Beau appreciates how running enriches his life, and he has a compelling desire to support others in pursuit of their running goals. He coached middle school track and cross country athletes in eastern Idaho for six years, and found tremendous joy in helping youth experience the physical and mental benefits of distance running. No coaching positions were available where Beau currently teaches, and he was considering trying to do some freelance coaching in the Treasure Valley in order to contribute to the running community. The opportunity to run for a leadership position with the BAR in 2015 came at just the right time to provide Beau with a meaningful way to make a contribution to the sport he loves.
Over the years, Beau has had many experiences that deepened his appreciation for the communitarian nature of running. One particularly memorable event was in 2007, while running his third marathon and first Boston Qualifying time. Somewhere between mile 17 and 18, he hit the infamous wall and his legs felt like lead. He turned a corner and found himself running uphill and into the wind. His mindset went from bad to worse, and he momentarily fantasized about lying down on the street to sleep. Then a group of four runners who were cutting through the wind in a makeshift V-formation came along side him. They were taking turns in the most difficult position while the others got a respite from the brutal headwind. One of the runners said to Beau, “Tuck in behind me.” When Beau didn’t understand the directive, the runner repeated, “Tuck in. We will take you in.” Beau was able to stay with them for 6 miles, set a smashing PR and his first BQ. He never saw the V-formation runners again, yet he will always remember their kindness. Such supportive acts are not random at all, but rather part and parcel of the long distance running community. Being a part of maintaining and expanding that sort of compassionate community is one of the powerful motivators that helps Beau love running.
As Beau says, “Running makes the best people.” See you out on a run!