Double Creek Race Report

by - Monday, June 16, 2008

So has your goal for a race ever been to finish dead last? Right probably not.

But that was my job this weekend.

I volunteered to help out at a local running and biking event because I figured maybe it would send some good kharma toward my injured knee. Originally I was supposed to help man a water station, but at the last minute the volunteer coordinator sent me an e-mail and asked me if I would be the sweeper for the 5K.

She quite literally told me I could walk, trot or skip my way to the finish line, but I had to be dead last.

Easy enough, I thought. I'll just walk with the slowest walker figuring I'd finish within an hour.

Well an hour and 23 minutes later I was crossing the finish line.

I walked with this older woman who was overweight (she admitted it) and moving at a slow, but strenuous for her pace. She had to stop many times to rest on the course and she was crying because she had never done this poorly in a race. Her worst time previously had been an hour and ten minutes. Her best had been 58 minutes.

Her goal for this race was to break an hour. The front end of the pack passed us on the out and back course before we'd even reached mile one. You could just tell that was an emotional blow for this woman.

It was really heart wrenching to do this race with her. She kept telling me that if I hadn't been there she would have just stopped doing the race and got in the car with the EMT who was following us. She thanked me profusely when we finished, but I couldn't help thinking I didn't really do much but walk and offer an encouraging word now and then.

Her story was touching though. She'd lost her husband a few years ago when she was at her walking prime and just never picked back up to where she was. She thought she had been better trained than she was and now she's reconsidering some of the other races on her schedule.

She was so determined though to finish. And even though she didn't finish as well as she wanted, she still crossed the finish line and that was what mattered. I think that's probably a lesson for all of us. I mean we all have crappy days, when it's sunny and humid or we just bonk for some reason and are in general disappointed in our performance.

But starting the race and even finishing poorly is always better than never getting off the sofa.

Sorry that was a bit rambly.

I've got a doc. appointment next week to get the knee checked out. That was the earliest time I could get.

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  1. What a compeling story!!! So nice of you to volunteer AND help out the lady... I admire her for her grit and determination.

  2. This post made me teary! (Yeah ME of all people :P Don't fret it's probably just PMS LOL) What an awesome story Jess ;D

  3. Good for you! Sounds very rewarding!

  4. Yes I am choking back tears now. What a great story and awesome experience you were able to have.

  5. That's an awesome story!

  6. Stories like that are always so inspiring.

    You did a good thing this weekend. :)

  7. What a great story, isn't amazing the things we take for granted and how far words of encouragement can push us? She will probably tell everyone about this wonderful girl that helped her through the race...good job!

  8. You did more than you are giving yourself credit for. It's very cool that you helped her finish. I'm proud of you!! I'm glad that you are getting checked out by a doctor.

  9. I'm sure you meant more to her than you'll ever know!

  10. I wondered how the race directors "swept" the course. I guess you were the metaphorical broom. Glad the woman made it...and didn't end up in the dustbin.

  11. Great story!
    Take Care

  12. That was so nice!

    I hope things go well at the doc

  13. Very cool of you to volunteer...!! I bet that lady appreciated you being with her!

  14. Hi Jess

    You did a really great, selfless thing and there is just not enough of that going on in the world these days. Best of luck with that knee and you've got to believe the running gods owe you one about now...

  15. Wow! What a moving story!! That is great that you got out there and volunteered!

  16. That is so awesome of you Jess. Congrats for being a super person!I bet you will never forget it. I loved how you said she said she was overweight.