TAP. TAP. TAP. “You should put a little more enthusiasm in this, you know.”
I was currently trudging uphill on mile 11 1/2 of a 13.1 mile half-marathon and it had been raining for the last 2 hours. Enthusiasm was not a word in my present vocabulary. I was too miserable about the weather, the fact that I wasn’t even going to be close to a PR, the 4 trailer parks I had just viewed on this ‘scenic’ course, and that the half-marathon and marathon course actually overlapped so many times that I was passed by a guy wearing nothing but a star-spangled-speedo and carrying a Captain America shield
one two three times.
But there he was, a grandfather clad in hot pink shorts, hot pink cap, knee high compression socks, and a shirt that read 50 State Marathon Club: HARRY. He was on the marathon route, so he was at mile 16, and he was passing me.
“This is Giles’ first marathon as an old man. He just turned 70.” he said as he nodded to his friend. “It takes two of us to finish these things nowadays. I only come to talk to the pretty ladies.”
I smiled for the first time in 6 miles. This had not been a smiling kind of day.
Just then, it dawned on me just how much I had to be happy for. My family had come with me to the race. Grandma had come down to meet us. I was finishing my 16th half marathon, 4 years ago I couldn’t run to the end of the block. Harry had more miles to go than I already completed and he was smiling.
I waved goodbye to Harry and Giles at the course split, and wished them well on their remaining 10 miles. I finished my own race in a much better mood than I started, and was met at the finish line by smiling faces, kids with flowers, and a cold beer. And I’m happy to report, that Harry finished 1st place in his age division for the full marathon, followed closely by Giles. I couldn’t find Steve Rogers, however, listed anywhere.