Racing and Genealogy

5K Award

Typically I blog on Saturday mornings but yesterday I participated in a very special event for me; I took part in my first 5K. I do like to walk but not run. My husband signed us both up to be in the race that we were already going to be attending to cheer on a family member who was entered into the marathon category.

It was a long drive to and from the event and that gave me time to reflect on how much racing is like genealogy.

One might disagree with me as running is all about getting somewhere quickly and genealogy is the opposite. Yet, there are striking similarities I’ve noticed.

I have never been a runner and really had no desire to become one. Our family joke is I would rather stand and fight than run. Pretty much. The truth is initially I really had no desire to be a genealogist. I had an interest in discovering answers to family questions. That interest, over time, became a passion. Successful runners have that passion to get up at the crack of dawn in all sorts of weather to hone their skills. Genealogists stay up into the wee morning hours doing research online. I would even go so far as saying genealogists get a version of runner’s high when they locate that long-lost document or solve a family mystery.

When runners are patiently waiting for the start of the race, they swap stories of past races. Runners also encourage each other to continue on the course. Genealogists cannot help themselves, when they get together, sharing their past finds and supporting their colleagues to continue on to a victory when researching a brick wall.

Runners have tricks of the trade that the novice would have little awareness about – like pickle juice. Genealogists have many of their own tricks, I enjoy sharing mine via my blog.

As I jumped into racing yesterday I once jumped into genealogy. I learned to warm up, wear my broken in gym shoes, and make sure I stayed hydrated. The destination is often not close to my home. Not much different than preparing for a genealogical research trip!

Getting to the finish line is difficult for both runners and genealogists as there are so many unexpected obstacles that pop up. One of the shared ones is the pandemic. We pivot, we adjust, we have our workarounds to reach the end. We eventually get there.

The biggest surprise I learned about racing was the sloth award. Who knew there was a coveted award for coming in last place! The point is that endurance is more important than speed. I like that. That should be running in the back of every genealogist’s mind. Happy Hunting!

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