If you spend any time in the hills or mountains of the UK and you're a bit like me, you will at some point start to admire the toughness of sheep.
It's not in an "in your face" toughness like Grizzly Bears, Bengal Tigers, or the Instagram reel. Keep the scrolling type of way. But instead, it's a toughness to endure. To suffer. It's a passive endurance of the elements it lives in, the harsh geography and life in general. So it's an acceptance that this will be tough, so what.
There's also a pack mentality in sheep, unselfishness that they aren't in it just for themselves. I like that. The Tour de France generally is about two or three or three riders at the sharp end, possibly eight at the most. But would it be the same if it weren't for the other 160 making up the race? The riders have the Im not in this just for myself mentality. It is sometimes leading the flock from the front, moving along following well-trodden trails contouring hills for the most efficient way of getting there, hiding behind others or dry stone walls to be in the lea of the wind.
I'm a big admirer of the mid-pack runner, the amateur who will never win or podium, never grabbing the KOM. But the person that turns up progresses takes turns on the front of the flock and puts their shoulder into the wind. Pushes hard for the small victories, who are outside in all weathers to try for personal bests, sub 30 min 5ks or finish their tenth marathon in a time that doesn't matter to anyone but them.
The runners who fit training around kids' hockey matches, brownies, and uni visits,
Cyclists that train via the morning commutes and long rides home. Or completes hill sessions while everyone else has lunch.
You see, It's ok to follow, to be in the midpack, never to win. Because it's that very fact that we will never win makes us the real winners; we run for the joy of it.
Let's not for once be sheepish about it being more than ok to be in the midpack, making up the numbers, the spectacle; it's brilliant.