Winner – Popular Vote: Gianna Messia ~ Brockton “City of Champions”

Brockton. The “City of Champions”. A place that I have called home for the past 16 years of my life. And to be honest it was hard choosing to write about only one good thing in Brockton. For as long as I can remember, Brockton has offered kids from their toddler to teen years a road race. You must be thinking, “a road race”. How does that have anything to do with the good of Brockton. It wasn’t until I started running these races that I realized how much joy and happiness it brings to our community.

Every Saturday morning, kids are to arrive at the starting line to receive their bib at D.W field park. Admission is just a dollar donation. The first time I ran this race I was about 10 years old and was not in the best shape nor did I have any running experience. Lining up on the red line I was confident that I could run 2.3 miles without giving up. But I came in last place out of all of my friends. They were faster. They were thinner and more physically fit. They had the ability to run without stopping or bailing out. Not me. There were kids as little as 6 years old finishing before me with a faster time. All of my friends received a ribbon for finishing top 5. But not me. I vowed to my parents never to bring me back because I was so ashamed of myself.

Fast forward 5 years later I was 15. And I had finally decided to give it another try. I was determined to be the person that crosses the finish line with a satisfactory feeling. A feeling like I could accomplish something I never thought I could. The race begins and I’m pacing myself. Half way through I feel the pressure of my body telling me to stop and rest. But my thoughts were screaming “you need to cross that finish line”. I kept going. Turning the corner I still couldn’t see that red line. At this point, I was so anxious to finish that my body was just propelling itself forward at full speed. Climbing the hill before finishing felt like the biggest mountain in the world. Never had I ever experienced so much doubt in myself that I would give up at the very last minute. Before I knew it, it was over. My body had reached the red line. I had finished the race and completed the whole 2.3 miles. After this day I continued to run. I would ask my parents to bring me to the 8 am race every Saturday. As weeks would pass,my finishing time would only get shorter. The pain in my legs wasn’t as bad. The distance of the park seemed to minimize. My determination only grew. To my surprise I came in 3rd place and would receive a ribbon with my own name on it. By the end of the program, I had finished 2nd place overall. I was the second fastest girl out of everyone. How was that even possible? I received a trophy with my name on it. Not a ribbon. This was one of the best feelings in the world. Something that I never thought I could accomplish was now in the palm of my hands.

I was sad to say goodbye. Sad to not run the park route each week. Sad to not get the butterflies in my stomach before each race. Sad to not pin the bib to my shirt before running. I realized how much this road race had changed my perspective on something I hated. I never thought running would become such a wonderful thing for me. Just a few short months after the Road Races were over, I joined the track team for the first time. Now I run for fun on the weekends and 5 miles everyday after school. To all of the younger girls and boys who wish to accomplish a goal, I believe in you. If you are struggling, I hope you continue to push yourself with the hard work and dedication that it takes. It isn’t easy but I can promise that it will be rewarding and satisfactory in the long run. At the age of 2 and a half I was at risk of losing my right leg. Now, at 16 years old, I am beyond grateful that I have a normal life with 2 fully functioning legs. And to think that there are kids in the world without the chance to experience the joy of running is devastating. I cannot thank Brockton enough for providing the community with such a beautiful and exuberant event. You have shown myself and many others the joy of running, the motivation to accomplish a goal and the determination to never give up.

Congratulations, Ginna, for winning the Popular Vote in Buzz Around’s Good News Story Contest, 2020!