Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Action 308 - Be More Of A Jester.

Everybody loves a laugh, right? But that's not really an area I need to develop. I mean, I'm a pretty funny guy and I find and pass along my share of chuckles and giggles on a daily basis. But there's still an action here for me.

Action 308 - Be More Of A Jester. Not just any Jester, but this guy - Run Jester Run.

I first saw him when I ran the San Diego Half Marathon. He was standing right outside the stadium with a sign that read something like, ".1 down, only 13 miles to go!" At the time, I rolled my eyes and thought, "gee, thanks."

I saw him again as he ran past me sometime during the run. He was still wearing the full jester costume and carrying his signs, and he was running like it was just another stroll in the park. He was obviously a great runner. The next time I saw him was near the finish. His sign now let me know that I had run 13 miles and only had a tenth of a mile to go. Seeing him this time was a much better experience!

Imagine my surprise when I saw him this past Saturday in Hollywood, sharing the same encouragement and support at the Hollywood Half Marathon.

And today, thanks to Jaylene and the folks at CIC Events, I have learned more about this man.
Yesterday at The Hollywood Half Marathon, my girls and I finally took the time to stop and actually talk to him. He is an amazing guy! He runs these events and then stands at the finish line cheering on everyone coming in and does not leave until he is sure that the last runner has crossed the line. 

And that, folks, is why I want to be more of a Jester. The next major event I am scheduled to run is the La Jolla Half Marathon, and I expect to run it in less than 2 1/2 hours. That means that the course will remain open behind me for at least a full hour. And at that event, after I cross the line and claim my finisher's medal, you will find me standing near the finish line and cheering in every runner until the last one has crossed the line.

I want to be a better runner. And this action will help me with that. It will also help me be a better person. And selfishly, I want to enjoy seeing the joy and pride wash over every last runner as they cross the finish line and complete their half marathon.


  1. This is fantastic!! I think I will do the same in Indy this year. I'm sure the last finisher is just as excited as the first finisher, and it will be great to watch and cheer :)

  2. As one of the slower runners in anything I've run, I tend to come in somewhere in the final third of runners crossing the finish line...I can't describe how amazing it is to be plugging along, feeling like you might not be able to finish and then you round a corner and see other runners standing there cheering you one, yelling that you're almost there and you CAN do it! There is something that happens inside us "penguin" runners in that moment, and it's a gift that can only be given by another runner who crossed the line ahead of us. Sure, it's wonderful to be cheered on by the non-runners, too, but the RUNNERS have more of an impact b/c they've just done what I am trying to do. So I love that you will be start cheering on the other runners in your races!

    And, as I get back into running this year after six months off, one of my hopes is that one day we run the same event and I'M one of the lucky ones to see you cheering us on, too! :)

  3. Thanks, Erika. I haven't really thought of it. When I'm done, I just let myself get carried away in the "whoo, hoo, I did it!" moment and I move away from the finish. But I'm excited to be a part of other people's big finish moments, too!

  4. I love it. Looks like the Jester idea is spreading already!

  5. This reminds me of my want of volunteering at Grandma's Marathon some year. Basically, I want to give back! I am sure you're great at cheering the rest of the finishers!

  6. John, I am humbled. Thank you so much for the kind words. It is so rewarding to read that you will be continuing the Jester tradition. I am honored. Now get ready for an amazing experience!

    I started doing this at last year's San Diego R-n-R Marathon simply as a way to add a little light-hearted levity to an event that for many is very scary, especially if it's their first time, and to give back to a sport that's given me way more than I could ever repay in one lifetime. (This great sport blessed me with a new Guinness World Record last year for most marathons in a year - 135.) .

    When I finished the marathon at San Diego and went back out on the course to the 26.0 marker, I only planned to be there cheering runners in for maybe an hour. But runner and runner, walker after walker, and then the ones who were really struggling in the heat, doing the marathon shuffle, kept thanking me for sign, and for being to cheer them in - the slower their speed, the more gratitude in their voice . . . Eight hours after the race started, I accompanied the final runner across the finish line to collect our finishers medals. I was hooked!

    Since then I've had the privilege of sharing the finish line excitement at marathons in San Francisco, Long Beach, Santa Clarita, Manhattan Beach, Carlsbad, Huntington Beach, and L.A., as well as about five half-marathons. This has allowed me to pay it forward, in my own little way, for all the great support given to me, by so many people, over the last three years.

    You want to know a little secret? The satisfaction that comes from being there at the finish and cheering each runner in is rewarding beyond what words can describe. Every time someone thanks me for being there for them, I think to myself, "No, I should be thanking you!" You'll see. I'm warning you, it's addicting.

    The La Jolla Half is sold out, but I'll see if I can work a little Jester magic and squeeze my way into the race. If so, I'd love to hang out with you at the finish and help you cheer everyone in. I'll look for you at the 13.0 marker, and I'll bring an extra cowbell!

  7. I can't wait to meet you there, and I'll definitely be ringing that cowbell. And as you can see from the comments here on this blog entry already, your idea is already spreading across the country. It's a habit worth sharing, definitely.

  8. Hi John, I love this! As a personal friend of the Jester, and parent to his official "mini Jester" (my 11 year old son has helped Ed cheer in the last runner a couple of times), I can tell you that giving back to the runners behind you will bless you beyond belief. Ed is an amazing guy, and those of us lucky enough to run with him are very thankful to have his support at almost every race in our area. I love that his passion is catching on!

  9. I wish I was faster so I could get to that finish line quicker, but I'll be moving as fast as my little legs will carry me!

  10. Louis "HotDogger" SkeltonApril 15, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    After nearly 7 hours on the trail in Catalina, it was my amazing fellow Jester buddy that gave me the kick to finish. Thanks again Ed for the encouraging words near the end of a long day on the trail..See you soon. hi to your lovely bride....

  11. [...] As promised, after I finished my running the La Jolla Half Marathon today, I stayed behind to cheer on everyone who finished behind me. Mr. Run Jester Run, Ed Ettinghausen, gave me a heads-up about what to expect. You want to know a little secret? The satisfaction that comes from being there at the finish and cheering each runner in is rewarding beyond what words can describe. Every time someone thanks me for being there for them, I think to myself, “No, I should be thanking you!” You’ll see. I’m warning you, it’s addicting. [...]

  12. [...] of folks that I’ve yet to see in person. They are all, somehow, connected to The Jester (I mentioned  him earlier.) We’ve all been talking via Facebook in the Run Jester Run Friends Group, and we have [...]

  13. [...] I’ve mentioned before, the Run Jester is a gentleman named Ed who loves to run. A lot. Like 100 miles at a time kind of runs. And [...]