Denis Desmond received the Lifetime Service Award at the 2023 FRWSD Banquet for his many contributions to the club. Debbie Chaddock, our first ever Award Recipient, had the honor of sharing Denis’s story.
Marathoners are a crazy breed. And they all have different reasons for why they ever started running in the first place.
For Denis Desmond, it was simply to get in better shape. His sister convinced him to start running. She trained and ran with Denis for his 1st marathon in Long Beach in 2000. And then he was hooked, completing more than 50 marathons since then. So as influential as his sister was, I’m just glad she was into running and not hotdog-eating contests! Otherwise Denis might not be with us today.
And that would be terrible because Denis has served several important roles on the FR board through the years, including Club President in 2004. Not to mention his participation in races, water stations, and Front Runner cheering sections. And he’s played a very active role in putting on our SD Pride 5k.
Denis also cycles a lot, sharing this adventure with diehard friends Luis and Ken, dragging them to every corner of the county on their Sunday rides. Denis continues to amaze me almost every time I open Strava. Just last Sunday he rode 111 miles in Long Beach, and two days ago he ran over 22 miles in Pasadena. Which these days is probably the fastest way to get across L.A!
Denis and I have shared a few conversations about LIFE, which is full of surprises.
Some people believe there are no coincidences; everything that happens is part of a grand cosmic plan designed to provide each of us with a meaningful life journey. Others say that everything that happens is merely the laws of physics — the complex interplay of countless chemical and biological reactions dancing with the laws of chance. So when life throws a curve ball, don’t take it personally.
Either way we are not powerless. How we live can improve the odds of achieving desired outcomes, or at least help us remain resilient through sucky times.
And in that vein, HERE ARE 6 LIFE HACKS YOU CAN LEARN FROM DENIS
1. Make the most of each circumstance you face by figuring out what you can learn or gain from it.
If need be, allow yourself to throw an occasional pity party. Just don’t get stuck there. Feel and name all your emotions, and channel them into a plan that will help you face your reality.
2. Remember to give equal time and attention to the millions of good things you’ve been fortunate enough to experience in your life. After all, we all won a big lottery to be here in the first place. Practice gratitude every day. In particular, cherish the moments you connect with others.
3. Create opportunities for those cherished moments to happen. Some ways of doing that are to exercise and socialize. You can run, walk, or bike dozens of miles with your friends. Better yet, share a meal with them afterwards. Can you think of at least one organization that facilitates these types of activities?
4. Once in a while, take on something new. For example, Denis took on redesigning and setting up the staging area at our SD Pride 5k.
5. Budget your energy. Be realistic about what you can accomplish and prioritize accordingly.
Balance pushing yourself beyond what you thought you were capable of, with the rest you need to recover and grow from those taxing efforts.
6. Make sure your peeps and loved ones know how much you appreciate them — especially your partner. Acknowledge how much they’ve changed their lives for you. I mean, before he and Denis got together, Devin never even liked running. And now he does half marathons! Well, what else is he gonna do while he waits for Denis to run his 26 miles?
Thank you, DEVIN, for all you do to support Denis and his neurotic, life affirming obsession with running and cycling.
And DENIS, we appreciate you and all you’ve done to serve our club, and how you inspire us to be our best selves. You really embody the spirit of Front Runners and Walkers of San Diego, and we are thrilled to present you with our Lifetime Service Award.