That weekend at the Taroko Gorge, my roommate wasn’t the only one running the half marathon. Our friend Andrew ran it with her. In fact, there were a few people on that trip who wanted to run the race but didn’t register in time. Andrew ran it anyway, bandit style.
On the train ride back to Taipei from Hualien, Andrew and I sat next to each other. Our conversation got on the topic of races and training and I expressed my interest in wanting to into distance running. I remember him talking about the races he was training for. This guy was already signing up for races and he had only been in Taiwan a few months!
I met Andrew in August when he moved to Taiwan to teach English. He had been in Hong Kong the previous year, doing the same thing, traveling and running in Asia in between. He was a consistent part of our community in Taipei until a tragic bike accident ended his life here on earth. The last thing I talked to him about was how he needed to plan his bike trip around Taiwan. It was on that bike trip that he died.
To read more of Andrew’s story, you can check out previous posts I have written about him, his influence, and how he inspired my own running journey. Here is a list of some of them:
Andrew had a to do list for his life. (His mom posted Andrew’s list here.) After he was gone, I couldn’t get out of my head how much Andrew had accomplished. He just went out and did things. He traveled and ran and stayed in touch with friends from all over the world. With or without companions. He just did it.
So that spring, the memory of Andrew my fuel and inspiration, I started doing things. I signed up for my first race with a bunch of girlfriends, I joined a champion dragon boat team, and I got some friends to run with me all the way to the Taipei half marathon that December.
The active lifestyle I had always wanted had only ever been a choice away. In the wake of Andrew’s inspiration, I finally made the choice. I was going to start ticking things off my own bucket list. Life was a gift that I had barely started to unwrap, and it is truly the gift that keeps on giving.
Andrew’s last race (on this earth anyway) was the Taipei Marathon. Running all 26.2 miles of a marathon was definitely something on my bucket list. Thanks to Andrew, my bucket list was now a “life to do list.”