Like Darrell, I'm still enjoying a good bit of "afterglow" from the fun and tough Heart of America Marathon on Labor Day. Here are a few photos to capture some of the essence of this terrific marathon.
I mentioned the course wound down to the banks of the Missouri River. Here I am in front of Big Muddy...it was really cool to spend 15 minutes or so "running upstream" with this magnificent river beside us.
Joe at Missouri River
This race is the opposite of a big-city marathon. On the afternoon before the race, Darrell poses with the entire finish line complex. Yeah, it was just this big. A single line painted on the street...how cool! Coupled with a card table for the clock and a few volunteers, it was all we would need on race day!
The Finish Line
And how about traffic control? These stickers on the parking meters along one block sufficed!
Downtown Traffic Control
At the banquet the night before, past winners and special guests were invited back. To my utter surprise, two of them were from just near my tiny little hometown of Auburn, Nebraska! with Tim Hendricks and Lou Fritz
In the middle is Tim Hendricks, who won the race in '69, '71, '72, '73 and '75. Tim told me of his amazing running history, from Omaha South HS to Peru State College to the US Navy and an amateur career that included competition in presitgious cross-country events in Europe. Reflecting on all of this, he felt that winning the HOA probably convinced the Navy to not send him to Vietnam...how's that for a real prize for being quick over 26??
On the right is Lou Fritz, a local running hero from my home area whom I had never actually met until last Sunday night. He holds the HOA record for finishing 25 consecutive HOA Marathons, ending his streak in 1991, running all but two of them under 3 hours! I introduced myself to Lou after the banquet and his eyes lit up. It turned out (and I had completely forgotten) that while we lived in Africa from 1976-1981, I had seen his name in a brief article in Runner's World (which my Mom had mailed me). I had clipped the article, mailed it back to him. When I told him my name he said "YOU ARE THE GUY WHO MAILED ME THE ARITICLE FROM AFRICA!!" He said he still had it in a file of his running memorabilia. Amazing that he would remember that, instantly, when I said my name. He also knew two of my cousins who still live in SE Nebraska and had heard my uncle died just a week earlier. Yeah, it's a small world.
And finally race day. Two certifiably crazy guys got up way before dawn to enjoy the simple pleasure of running a very long way.
Darrell and Joe at 5am, rarin' to go
The gift of health and life and friendship is a precious one. Persevere and be thankful for each of them, along with Darrell and me.