It was 1976….I was in 2nd grade and we had a big “Field Day” at the local high school to celebrate the Bicentennial of the USA. It was cool to take a school bus and go to the high school football field for a competition against the other grammar school children. I don’t remember a lot, but I know there were sack races and other fun events.
Ready for the race…..
I was picked or volunteered for the 100 yard dash. This was my FIRST race ever. I was so excited – I had followed the Olympics in Montreal that summer and couldn’t believe that I was running a race myself. I got on the line with the other boys and got into the ‘professional’ start position where my fingers were on the line and I was in the squat position, just like I had seen on TV.
The gun went OFF! I took off like a rocket (or so I thought)…. I had the best start out of everyone. Then 1 kid passed me…..and another….and yet another. It was all blurry after that as I started crying and ran into my mother’s waiting arms at the finish. I had LOST. I was no good to run again. I never wanted to race AGAIN. That’s it.
In 7th grade Saddle Brook put on a local 5K that began and finished at the local Howard Johnson’s hotel and snaked along some back streets. I entered the 1-mile fun run – did I remember my bad experience at my previous race? The next year, I entered the race again – this time I ‘trained’ around my block with a couple of runs the week before the race. The following year I joined winter track…then cross country and now, about 40 years after that first race? I’m still running.
I could have given up way back when I was 7….but i didn’t. Anyone can run and I can make anyone a runner. What is your story? Perhaps you are just ready for that next chance.
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