Now Wait a Minute!
Do Southern California runners actually race through deep sand? And do they splash along angry beach surf just to qualify as “Californian”?
Well, of course, and why not?
Hey, I am not only a New Yorker but, also a Race-Walker. I admire runners! Today August 3, 2019 I came to love these same Californian neighbors too!
There were less than two hundred of us in this beach race. But, as they often proclaim here, “No Worries!”.
The one hundred High School Cross Country team members darted off as the starters fake gun ticked a silent beat. Us Old Salts however, were up for the fight. Seasoned Southern Cal, newly balding, runners quickly overtook some, but not many, of the High Schoolers who hadn’t trained up for the task.
I played it cool! I was the only one who had a water bottle tucked comfortably, along with a dry pair of socks. in my fanny pack. I sipped the ever-warming liquid frequently splashing my head often warding off the rising morning sun!
As a veteran of walking across Morocco’s Sahara Desert, a long pair of dress socks covered my worn our running shoes precluding sand from dragging me down.
On a high, this being my very first deep sand beach race, I puffed loudly on every stride and sang-out YES! every 100 yards. There was no question then that the true Californians confirmed first hand that I indeed was Weird!
My exuberance was not always rewarded with glory. On the return trip of this two- mile adventure the heavy surf grasped my shins, inundated my trusty shoes and almost sent me reeling into the deeper channel where Dolphins[ and perhaps their feeding Sharks] were meandering yards off shore.
The High School Cross Country champs and middle-age Californian Machos [and Machas] were already collecting their winners’ medals when I passed under the Hermosa Pier finishing point for this memorable journey. As the youngsters hugged, kissed and congratulated, I headed to the beach-front bar for a cold beer.
Someone announced that I was seventh in the 70 to 99-year-old age group division, even if I was the only Race-Walker! “Now worries”, my ego responded I will be back again when I am 100. Then what will they do????