“Running is a relationship and friendship. I don’t expect more than what I put into it. I need to show up. And I don’t abuse it.” There’s a lot packed into this thought for me to think about, which I would do on my run had I not removed my running shoes for the interview.
Running is more than a passion for Betsy, it’s her business as well. This self-made entrepreneur owns her own business – a mobile shoe store called Suda’s Fit Foot. The idea was inspired by her grandmother who, in her 96 years, only complained about one thing: the pain in her feet. Betsy would bring her shoes to her nursing home for her grandmother to try on. “Church groups would come to sing for them, why couldn’t I bring shoes for them?” In 2018, that brilliant idea became a sustainable reality.
Her business is a long way away from where she saw herself when she studied chemistry in college and researched biodegradable polymers in grad school. “But it’s an interesting way to interact with humanity.” And there it was. Our connection wasn't running, it was our love for interacting with life.
That was the purpose for this exercise in the first place. I am always moving forward, finding new pand interesting pathways to interact with people. Especially strong people like Betsy, people whose daily breakfast consists of dark chocolate and coffee. I like meeting people who I can identify with Fraggle Rock – a Muppet inspired musical group that Jim Henson once described as "a high-energy, raucous musical romp of silliness.”
Perhaps this was the real inspiration for Betsy’s model of life. The Fraggle crew were both industrious like she is, and accessible to all ages like her business is. Moreover, neither shy away from talking about serious issues that we still face today – prejudice, identity, social conflicts and the environment. These are the topics that lit Betsy up when we met.
Betsy is also creative like the show. In fact, she recently wrote a parody song set to Culture Club’s Karma Chameleon that is about Sen. Kamala Harris. It was written from the male perspective to talk to men who were still undecided, voting 3rd party, or turned off completely from voting. This past weekend she recorded it with some friends. (Note: she sent me the video of them recording it and it’s awesome).
Although she’s never shot a crossbow, she does play the ukulele, violin, an cello, and has done ballet since she was a little girl. And her first drink was a gin and tonic, which she got while visiting her brother in Scotland while he was studying Theology at St. Andrews!
The most surprising question she had for me was when she asked if I like David Sedaris, the famed humorist. “This reminds me of him. He always likes to ask strangers questions.” She then told me about a time Sedaris got in a taxi at the airport and asked the driver if he has ever petted a monkey. The driver, sniffs his hand and asked, ‘Can you smell it?’” Like me, Betsy loves dry humor and dogs doing silly things. “I like it when nature looks like us.”
There’s a lot more to talk about, as there always is, but this is what I ran with when I went for a mental and emotional jog with Betsy. So many of us are too busy running away from thing or chasing after something with no real purpose. Not Betsy. She sets her sights on the goal she wants to achieve and runs towards it – focused and determined.
Like the words written on her website, "Our goal is to create a world with people living and moving freely, enjoying life." Life, like running, is relational. I am grateful Betsy took the time to move me and our conversation from strangers sharing small talk to friends sharing life.
While it might not have been a marathon, I kept pace with Betsy (who I am sure slowed down for me) as we jogged down the road of life, just beyond the bushes in her front yard.
An ex-copywriter turned punk rock pastor and peacemaker who dedicates his life to making the world a better place for all humanity.
"that they all might be one" ~John 17:21
“Prius vita quam doctrina.”
~ St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
* “Life is more important than doctrine.”