Why Marie Boyd is a Role Model

 I’ve been wanting to write about this for the longest time. Today seemed fitting for two reasons:
1) My question of the day was “who are the most influential people in my life and why?”, and
2) She was just recently recognized with a very special award by an Australian Ultra Running Association (I’m sure I have the name wrong).

So what is it about Marie that makes her so important to me?

I met her in 2013 at my first 72 hour race. We passed each other many times and I had a wonderful opportunity to watch her in action, both as an ultrarunner and as a human being. I was in awe of both.

the next time we ran into each other was at Across the Years (don’t remember if it was 2013 or 2014 but it doesn’t matter). She helped me by getting me water and by cheering me on. Another glimpse into this very elite runner and woman.

Since then we’ve been “friends” and then friends (that’s what happens sometimes with Facebook friends). I think the transition came on “Day 5” – that’s what we affectionately call the 2 days (or was it more) that she spent crewing me in my attempted trek across the US. She drove for hours to come help me and endured worse conditions perhaps than even I did. Without her, I would not have been able to get very far in California because the police would not have let me pass with my cart. And that same day, she stood in the pouring rain to wait for me at periodic stops to feed me and make sure i was ok. She even spotted a crisis and came to the rescue. The expensive rain jacket I started with got holes on the first day and by the time I was with Marie, I was soaked and freezing. She sped off to find a sports store where she got me a perfect rain jacket that I still use today. I couldn’t have asked for better support. You might think that this has made me biased and maybe it has but I bet if you ask anyone else about her, they will agree with all i write here.

She is always engaged and supportive. It’s obvious she cares about people and what they are going through. Her nursing experience shows through in almost every interaction – and I don’t mean by offering medical advice, although that is always spot on too. But nurses are the ones who help patients heal. Doctors just write down things they think will help, but it’s the nurses who get the patients to understand and to buy-in to the diagnosis, the prognosis and helps them find the motivation to do what they have to help the miraculous machine they inhabit get well. Nurses are the ones who spend 98% of the time with the patient. They can make or break any medical encounter. In order to do that they have to have compassion and understanding. They have to recognize that everyone is different and comes from different circumstances and they have to adjust all their discussions to each individual. They don’t have biases or if they do, they never let it show. They don’t judge people. They help people and are there for them.

I could go on and on about nurses and maybe I should in another post. But that’s just the flavor for you to know how Marie is with every single person I’ve seen her interact with. This is not to say she’s a pansy. That is most definitely NOT the case. and that’s one of the other things I admire about her – She is the most gentle tough person I’ve ever met. It’s hard to be both but she has mastered the entire range of resilience.

She never complains or if she does, she is not really complaining. She only opens her mouth when she has a solution to what isn’t sitting well with her. This is a unique quality. Her solutions are also unique because they involve do-able things, not pie in the sky ideas like “well, if the government did this, we wouldn’t have that”. I remember two years ago we were having dinner and the portions were monstrous. She had really practical ideas about that and told several people but not in a nosy, busy body way. She approaches everyone as if they are doing their best and she just wants to share something. To watch the reception of this mannerism is better than watching Netflix.

She’s extremely good at giving individual advice WITH alternatives, knowing that a) people are different and b) many people’s automatic response is rejection or excuse. Since she knows that and doesn’t judge it, she comes at the problem from multiple directions with many variables. This ensures that if someone really wants help, they have an array of choices. If asked for elaboration, she’s there with studies, evidence or just admits it’s worked for her and others she’s known even if they don’t know why.

You never know when things are rough for her. She doesn’t want to burden others with that information. She is strong physically, emotionally, and mentally.

I tried pretty hard to find something negative or something about her that I wouldn’t want to cultivate in my life. I could find NOTHING.