I’ll Beat Those Runners!

My first journey, multi day over, the road race is about to begin. It is dark at the 6 AM start. I guess it what these crazy Southern runners prefer. There are only four of us as we huddle listening to the phenomenal Gary Cantrell issue his low key race instructions. “Go as you please” is the theme.”Do whatever you want, just follow the route and never accept a ride. See you in Knoxville”

This is a 205 mile challenge. I know the runners are faster. But I am also a tortoise. My training, not infrequently, includes 40 mile walks. I plan to plod along at a respectable pace being prepared to overtake the runners, if I can endure and survive.

There are only four of us, including Gary. One of them takes off fast. We will not hear of him again for 48 hours. I know all too well though that the great error of long distance runners is that they set out, at the beginning, way too fast. Fatigued, 12 hours or days later, these runners are finished.

As the sun rises the heat intensifies. I have lost sight of the runners far ahead of me. Then two hours later they lounge during a break under a tree in the country side outside of Knoxville. I do not take breaks. I pass them with a smile. They catch up to me again. The process of their breaks and my doggedness continue until nightfall. Exhausted in the dark I find a hotel, sleep, and at 6 AM I am on the road again.

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