It’s summer. 11:00 in the morning and it’s already 85. I’m running up Baier Street, one of the steep hills in the neighborhood. I’m about halfway up and I see a guy unloading a lawnmower getting ready to get to work. I say something to him about how hot it is and that it’s only going to get hotter. As I pass him, he says something about pain and never being alone. Yeah, that’s appropriate for both of us.

As I reached the top of the hill, I began to wonder if what he said was a quote. So this evening I looked it up. Here it is:

Make friends with pain and you will never be alone.

You’ll never guess where it comes from. Christopher McDougal.

Does that name ring a bell? It won’t unless you’re a runner.

Christopher McDougal used the quote in his book, Born to Run, the story of the ultra-distance runners of the Tarahumara tribe of Mexico’s Copper Canyon. A fascinating book, especially if you’re a runner. In the book, McDougal quotes Ken Chlouber, Colorado miner and creator of the Leadville Trail 100-mile race.

Make friends with pain and you will never be alone.

Now I wonder. Is the guy with the mower a runner? A reader? Both? Or did he just pick up the quote along the road of life? I hope I see him again. I’ll ask.