This column marks the 120th monthly column I have keyed, written or opined. Over the past ten years, my “Thoughts” have spanned the thought-provoking and the anecdotal, the amusing and the serious, the factual and the silly. And on occasion, all of those are in the same article!

As I sit here and ponder the words that are supposed to travel from my brain to your newspaper or computer screen, I realize that this “Thoughts on the Run” will be the 120th column I have keyed, written or opined. Many thanks to the Transcript for allowing me the outlet to reach both runners and non-runners alike. And thank YOU for reading my monthly musings.

I enjoy the outlet, the audience, the feedback and the opportunity to share. Here’s hoping that the next 120 are worthy of your time and consideration.

Over the past ten years, my “Thoughts” have spanned the thought-provoking and the anecdotal, the amusing and the serious, the factual and the silly. And on occasion, all of those are in the same article! Who says that runners aren’t ADHD?

We’ve shared race experiences such as 200-mile team relay-events, local 5ks that were interrupted by trains, and even chocolate milk miles (which, in case you’d forgotten, I won – twice). We’ve talked about the heroes and the villains in the world of running, as well as great coaches, great mentors, and even little league parents. The state of the sport, including a recent article about the loss of quality officials, the state of our local, national and world championships and even racing bovines have all made it into “Thoughts” over the years.

I think one of my favorite articles was based on logging my daily “five milers,” dating all the way back to 1978, when I first started running as a high school sophomore. And yes, I still have all those logs.

Why running? Well, if you recall in one article, it’s because I was too small for football, too short for basketball, too weak for wrestling, too uncoordinated for baseball, and lacked the attention span for soccer. Why do YOU run?

And what’s happened over those 41+ years of running? Well, the advent of women’s apparel, the introduction of more than one flavor of Gatorade (heck, more than one brand of sports drink!) and the growing plethora of running shoe manufacturers (for roads, tracks, trails, treadmills, mountains, forest floors, beaches, and every day of the week). Which one’s the best? STILL not gonna tell ya!

Over the years, we’ve talked about autism, we’ve discussed mental health issues and initiatives, we’ve touched upon drug and alcohol recovery programs, and just about every form of beneficiary event there is. Even the big guys like Boston now have entry access for those who run for a cause (think Run, Fatboy, Run – yes, the movie!).

SWAG – stuff we all get. If you race, you know what I mean. If you support a runner, you’re shaking your head right now like a parent at a boardwalk arcade holding 210 tickets. And if you’re a non-runner (aka someone who hasn’t yet started, but will in 2020), you’re thinking, “We get stuff?” I personally have more T-shirts, fanny packs, pint glasses, and key chains than the offshore manufacturer who makes them.

Other topics (and ones that cycle back a lot) include personal and seasonal safety. Think sunblock, crosswalks and weirdos. I’m big on reminding you that running is not without its inherent risks, so that at all times and in all places, be safe. I’m counting on your eyeballs reading this column for years to come.

Finally, we’ve talked about injuries (prevention and how to deal with them once you have one), we’ve shared age-related opportunities (like the age-graded racing charts), running weather stories (funny one – I just recently won a pair of tights at a post-race raffle. Oh, the irony!), and how every runner, no matter the speed, age, gender, orientation, experience, or the like, is unique and to be championed. Every. Runner. (Actually, please replace ‘runner’ with ‘person’. There, much better…)

“Thoughts on the Run 2020” – coming to a Transcript near you soon. Thank you and all the best for this season and the coming new year! Now I’ve got to get busy, busy, busy!

I hope to see you on the roads, tracks and trails.

Former standout Lock Haven University runner Andy Shearer is a member of the Middletown Athletic Club, the Greater Philadelphia Track Club and USA Track and Field.