Fall Festival - Behind the Scenes Perspective

Written by Megan Strickler, 2022 Fort4Fitness Intern

The Fort4Fitness Fall Festival has an overall sense of nervousness and excitement in the air. Whether you are running or supporting a runner, the sentiment is the same – an overwhelming sense of community.

As a first-time attendee of the annual Fall Festival, the atmosphere can be a lot to take in at first: people running around dropping off their gear, rushing to make the Start Line before their race begins, and family members searching to find the best ways to support their loved ones during the race. As the participants take off, you begin to feel the anticipation and excitement of all the supporters waiting to congratulate their racer.

If I had to pick just one theme for the event – it would be encouragement. Words can’t quite describe how it feels to see the amount of pride in a husband's eyes as he watches his wife cross that Finish Line and accomplish a goal she’s worked so long and hard for. Between the tears and cheers, there is nothing like it nor is there any shortage of it at the festival. Mothers, fathers, husbands, wives and Fort4Fitness committee members all gathered around the Finish Line to scream and cheer for all the finishers.

There was no shortage of encouragement at the festival and no measures not taken to make sure a racer feels accomplished. The participants proudly displayed their Fort4Fitness shirts as they crossed the line, they could also be seen up on the big screen on the field for everybody to see and you could also hear their specific name announced as they reached their goal.

While at the festival, I saw men and women burst into tears when handed their finisher medal. For some, running is a hobby, but it was clear that for some it didn’t come so easy. Being on the cheer team at the Finish Line, I heard people yell as they crossed “I did it! I did it! I never thought I could do this.” The festival really fostered an inspiring environment for everybody – young, old, experienced, inexperienced and for all goal levels as well.

As a festival first-timer, the sense of love, support and encouragement is something I will never forget. Once I saw myself a part of something so inspiring, it made me want to continue to inspire those who want to reach their goals; it even made me want to set some running goals of my own.

Megan, hosting the F4F booth at the Three Rivers Children's Fest Fun Run

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