Guest post: “Dear Teenage Punk…”


I’m excited to introduce you to my friend Shad Purcell, whose voice I hope we get to hear from time to time on this site. Shad is married to April and they have two sons, Samuel and Cooper. He is an avid runner, fantastic communicator and former teenage punk.




Dear Teenage Punk,

First of all I would like to say “I am happy for you.” It must be nice to own the world and the road I am trying to run on. I am glad that your friend finally passed the drivers’ test and managed to fill the car full of gasoline and adolescent angst. It must make your parents proud to know that you and your friends are driving nowhere in particular, but you sure are in a blazing hurry to get there. We see each other for a brief moment when you are zooming along at 70mph and I am steadily striding at 7mph. Thank you for taking time out of your busy evening to yell, bark, hoot, and holler at me while I am running. It is good to know that you are such a fan of running. Your noise would be commonplace in any stadium or sports bar, but I am glad that you are taking your enthusiasm to the road to support the lone runners of the world.

I wonder at times what evokes your impulse to yell at me. Do I know you? Are you trying to encourage me? Or are you just having fun at my expense? Whatever your reasons are for shouting at me, I’m okay. You shout and usually I flinch for a moment and then holler back. My heartbeat goes up and I run faster for a while. Your loudly thumping music reminds me of when I was once a teenage punk. Yes, years ago I was in the same hurry to go wherever something exciting or rebellious was brewing for the weekends. I used to frequent the same off the beaten path party spot you are in such a rush to get to. Do you realize yet how much the path you are on is beating the young life out of you?

I have this hope for you when all of the ecstasy of being young and wild has left you as fast as your savings on prom night. I hope you maintain your search for adventure and that you will find the never-ending adventure of running. I hope that you will come to understand the mystery of why we crazy runners brave the weather and the roads. I wish I could tell you why we run but the truth is that it can’t be described with mere words. You’ll have to run and run and run again just to begin to figure it out.

So, I’ll be looking down the road for you in about ten years when your young physique has been covered up with layers of Monday night football, fried chicken, and mass quantities of beer. I look forward to seeing you running down the road in attempts to get into shape before your high school’s ten-year reunion. When you get within an earshot of me, please don’t get mad when I return the overdue favor and yell at you. Of course I will be yelling to communicate some encouragement because running is tough. But, this road that we are running on is much more rewarding when we run to live rather than live to party.

Shad “The Former Teenage Punk”

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