Finishing last never felt so good

Published: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 at 17:21 PM.

Along the route, people with Havelock High’s NJROTC program and others encouraged us along the way, as one mile turned into two and runners ahead of me began disappearing from my view.

I asked one of the volunteers at one point if anyone was behind me. He looked and hesitated before telling me that there was indeed one person behind me. That made me feel good. Here I was in my first 5K race and I was actually ahead of someone.

Well, that someone turned out to be a woman pushing a stroller with her young daughter inside. Reality quickly set in that my only hope of beating anyone in the race was to beat a woman pushing a stroller. I know it’s sad, but you find motivation where you can.

After the race, she told me that running with the stroller takes her about three or four minutes longer than when she runs without it. She didn’t finish that far behind me, so it’s a good thing for me the kid was along for the ride.

As we hit the last stretch of the 3.1-mile run, I saw my wife alongside the road. I’m not sure if she was there to cheer me on or to witness my death. Who knows? Maybe it was both.

My daughter had finally had enough of running with me. She started to pull away in the last half mile. I simply couldn’t keep up.

I had set a goal to finish the race in 35 minutes. As I approached the finish line, I heard one of the volunteers shout out my time — 30:45. Suddenly, I had a new goal. I had to finish in less than 31 minutes. I sprinted the last few yards, completing the race in 30:54 — last place among all the men who had entered. The winner of the race, John Morefield, had finished nearly 12 minutes before I crossed the finish line.



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