My Favorite Muss Memory- Noa Helmbrecht
My feet pounded on the pavement. I was surrounded by thousands of other people, their feet pounding on the pavement with mine. Bright lights in my face combined with the energy in the air made my heart race. This was one of my favorite memories since arriving in Israel.
A month ago, we were given the opportunity to take part in a 10K night run in Tel Aviv. As soon as I heard about it, I knew I had to participate. I have always loved running, and I was supposed to have participated in a 10K run last year, but it was canceled due to COVID. This was a chance of a lifetime that I knew I couldn't pass up. So some of my friends and I started to train. We would sign out of campus and run around Hod Hasharon, as well as the track on campus.
When it was the night of the run, I was so excited. There were approximately 15 students who decided to take part in the run, and we all boarded the bus to head to Tel Aviv. As we approached you could see the strobe lights in the sky and hear the voices of people talking from afar. We exited the bus, and I had so much adrenaline that I skipped through the streets. As we entered the fairground, the feeling was ecstatic. There were thousands of people. People climbing a rock wall. People getting coffee and Powerade. People warming-up. People having their faces painted. People that felt like family because we were all experiencing this moment together.
At the front of the fairground was a big stage and before the race, 3 women were leading the crowd through stretches. My friends and I opted for the glow-in-the-dark face paint, and then we all lined up to start the race. We crossed the start line and had a long 6.2 miles ahead of us. I listened to music and a guided run program, and while this helped me, what really pushed me to run my hardest was the familiar strangers surrounding me. I would select people who had a similar pace to me and run along with them. Running with Israelis and people who I knew had similar values and beliefs as me was a different experience than I have ever had. Even when I was tired and felt that I couldn't keep running, I felt the energy from those around me, and it pushed me to keep going.
Crossing the finish line was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever accomplished. At the beginning of the race, I had set a goal to finish in 56 minutes, and at the end, looking at the time, I saw 56 minutes. I had in fact met my goal. Walking over to one of the women handing out medals, she placed one around my neck. I celebrated by climbing the rock wall, drinking coffee and Powerade, and headed to the big stage to dance with my running family. There was a DJ blasting music, and everyone was happy and proud of their accomplishment.
It was an empowering and amazing experience that I will never forget. So until next time, may you take advantage of unique opportunities, be surrounded by an amazing community, and remember a journey of 100 miles starts with a single step.