The goal of each season is to reach the peak of our potential for that year as runners, but beyond that, as teammates, as students and as members of our community. There is no peak higher than Mt. Everest which sit along the borders of Nepal and Tibet in the Himalayas. Throughout the Himalayas it is common to find brightly colored flags flying in the wind. These flags date back 1000’s of years to the Bon tradition of pre-Buddhist Tibet. They are typically square pieces of cotton fabric that come in sets of 5 different colors, printed with combinations of symbols, mantras (a series of words or a brief statement or slogan repeated frequently or meditated on for the purpose of inspiring a person to grow in positive values or overcome negative values), sutras (concise, eloquent and/or memorable expressions of a general truth or principle ) or prayers (a solemn request for help or for blessing). They are often found strung along mountain ridges in the Himalayas and are meant to impart blessings to the surrounding countryside.
New flags represent new hopes, expectations and/or aspirations and are, therefore, often hung at the beginning of a new year. It is considered good practice to hang new flags at dawn especially on sunny days and days that are windy. They should be hung high because it is considered disrespectful to let them touch the ground and also because they are intended to flutter in the wind. As the wind passes through the flags it both caresses the virtues on the flags and is, in turn, purified by them. The wind then carries the flag’s blessings and virtues with it wherever it travels. Older prayer flags that have been left outside, exposed to the elements, will over time become faded and tattered. This is actually by design as it is an auspicious indication that these prayers and blessings have gone on to become a part of the universe, part of us.
The flags come in 5 colors, each of which represents one of the 5 ancient elements and a direction (North, East, West, South and Center), and are always hung in the same order.
- Blue = wind/sky
- White = air
- Red = fire
- Green = water
- Yellow = earth
Each year starting in 2019, as a team we select 5 Essential Elements or virtues that we believe will be important to the success and culture of our team. These Elements then make up the flags we fly from our tent at each meet to remind us of who we are, what we’re about and what we aspire to be.