When I was 18 or so, I met a boy.
I was with him for a good 11 years, was married, divorced, etc....but when I look back at this time, I remember being involved in a particular national marathon quite a bit. His father was the Race Director, and he has now taken that reign and manages it. I do look back on this time fondly. We were both very involved in the race weekend, from helping at the expo to helping with drug testing to helping wih the finish line chutes and even recording the race results!
I mingled with the world-class athletes...attended the cocktail party the evening after the marathon with all the invited/elite athletes. Even had dinner multiple times with Anne Audain. Of course, at that time, I didnt know that I should be so impressed with her (At the Olympics in 1984, she competed in the first women's marathon, and in 1988, she finished 11th in the inaugural women's 10k). She was just this quirky kiwi running a 10k that wore full-faced makeup at every running event :)
I even had dinner many times with the elite USSR athletes who came over to the US with their "coaches" (but we all knew that they were really KGB agents watching them to ensure that they behaved themselves and didn't defect...seriously, no running coaches ever looked like these burly men!).
I remember always seeing these slender gizelle-like athletes and thinking how they are a world apart from everyone I know. Its not that I didn't want to run, it was really a matter of not knowing that I could. I was surrounded by people that had trained with professional trainers for umpteen years of their lives. This was a "runner" in my mind, not the thousands of other local/regional/national people in these same races. So, it never really crossed my mind that I could be runner as well.
Its interesting how I've come full circle in this regards. I was interested in how the marathon was managed, but never really had an interest in running in it. Now, I don't really care how a race is managed, but want to run one!