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April 1, 2013

CUMMINS: Crossing the finish line

(Continued)

Running races adds to the “fun,” — after you cross the finish line. The results are electronically timed, and broken down into several categories including gender and age groups. Run, check the website a few hours later, and find exactly where you placed overall and in your age group, categorized in five-year segments up to above age 75. Soon I’ll hit the 80 mark and train for the final race, crossing, I pray, through the Pearly Gates to races down gold-plated streets. “You raced through life and been through hell already, so I’ll unlock the gate for you. Please note, this is a no-racing zone, so take your sneakers off and rest eternally sitting on the left side where the racers are.”  

It was 34 degrees and a 5k race, a spring warm-up for the longer races. My knees and heart needed antifreeze, but I charged on like dumb Custer did. It took an eternity. No, it didn’t, it took three more minutes than my set goal, big deal. With legs buckling and lungs wheezing, I moved on through the mob exiting the chute at the finish line, and to bottles of Gatorade and snacks to help remain upright. You commiserate and congratulate the finishers, all ages, sizes and shapes, a fraternity you belong to and never want to resign.

  Missed my goal, but how about giving thanks for the blessing and the gift of body, mind and heart working in harmony with a power, unexplainable. Then something in the mob bumped into me, hard against my weary legs. I turned and looked down; “Sorry.”

She said, “No, I’m sorry.” She was beautiful, about 17 and pushing along in her wheel chair; they race, too. “How’d you do?” I asked. Her beautiful bright eyes expressed it all. It was obvious she wanted to tell someone about her accomplishment; lucky me. It was pure joy expressed in a humble, yet animated and electrifying way. “Oh, I did it and I’m going to do it again and again. I can’t wait.” There are other races coming up, and if she can do them, I can, too. I’ll look for her. 

 

— Contact Terry Cummins at TLCTLC@AOL.com

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