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The Suburbanite
  • Gary Brown: Race coverage inspires non-runner to, well, walk

  • You probably are not writing about “what you know,” as  journalism professors harped about in school, if you feel a little bit fatigued just walking from the parking lot to the starting line to cover a distance running race.

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  • You probably are not writing about “what you know,” as  journalism professors harped about in school, if you feel a little bit fatigued just walking from the parking lot to the starting line to cover a distance running race.
    I got up early as one of the writers documenting the inaugural Canton Marathon. I showered because, well I don’t know for sure why I got cleaned up because I was going to head out to the land of more than 5,000 sweaty bodies. I probably didn’t even need to shave because after finishing a distance race the last thing runners likely are going to observe is, “Did you stand a little far from your razor this morning, Writer Guy.”
    To further prepare for my assignment, I dined on the traditional pre-race breakfast of a pair of toaster pastries and a cup of coffee. I had gone to the marathon’s companion Fitness and Health Expo, but apparently had not talked to nearly enough people.
    HANGING OUT
    Runners already were starting to gather when I got to the “corral” area. This was where those entered in the various races were divided up into marathon runners, half-marathon runners and 10K runners, until you get to a guy with a notebook who will insist, “Oh, no, no, no, I’m not IN a race. I’m covering the races. I’m just stretching because I pulled a wrist muscle last week trying to scribble down big words from a long interview.”
    I was standing right beside the starting line when the races began. A starter’s gun sounded. Runners ran. Walkers began to walk. Wheelchair entrants rolled off. I took a long drink of water after everybody was on the course and felt guilty about it. What did I need water for? I hadn’t really run anywhere. I even walked slowly. It’s a wonder that a race official didn’t take away my water bottle for unnecessary hydration.
    With the racing packs now out of sight, I sauntered back up a hill to the finish line in the football stadium. Waiting for runners to start running onto the field, I may have glanced too longingly at a table full of bananas. The lady who would be handing them out to runners smiled, but I noticed she took a step to put herself between me and the bunches.
    RUNNERS FINISH
    It took no time at all for runners to begin crossing the finish line. Those in shorter races finished first, then entrants in longer events filed past, and finally the finishers of the full marathon ran into the stadium. The first finishers in the marathon breathed and walked irritatingly well for having just run more than 26 miles.
    Page 2 of 2 - Their eyes asked, “Got anything else you want me to run?”
    I was relieved to see that some of the later finishers looked pretty darn tired. But, I also felt good that all of the finishers seemed pleased with themselves, happy that they had met this challenge, gratified that they were able to achieve their running goal.
    It all kind of made me want to run next year. Well, maybe walk.
    I’m going to start my training by parking farther and farther from writing assignments.