As a former runner, I was reminiscing about how much I used to like being around races. Back in the day, I could find a Race to run about every other week. That was when we lived in Hawaii in the late 1980's.
I ran cross country in high school only because the basketball coach wanted the team to go out for Cross Country so we'd be in shape when basketball started. A buddy and I from the swim team decided to go for it and did OK, making the team, going to District and qualifying for the State Championships.
Golf showed up that fall and I found my true love and lifelong sport. But I always admired the runners. In the 1970's Jim Fixx wrote "The Joy of Running" and Bill Rodgers was a star at the time. And marathons began growing in popularity. I liked running, but the thought of 26.2 miles was crazy!
While we were stationed in Germany (1980-1983) I saw a neighbor train and run for the London and Paris Marathons. That idea began to grow on me and I decided to go for it during our next duty location - Honolulu. Sure enough - I completed one there and then three more in Albuquerque during our four and 1/2 years there.
Now into my early 40's, I became more prone to injury and pulled a muscle while training two weeks before the Marine Corps Marathon in DC. I ran a few more shorter races (5k's and the Army 10 miler around the DC monuments, but that was basically it for my running and racing days.
I remembered all those people on the sidelines and stations along the races who volunteered so the runners could get out there. I decided to give it a try at the Virginia Beach Shamrock 8K.
I didn't want to be late for my 6:00 AM arrival at the Volunteer Tent so I showed up early and had a chance to talk with Mel at Orange Peel Shuttle. He was one of 7-8 shuttle drivers going back and forth from the VA Convention Center to the Oceanfront.
I also spoke with a teacher who was there with 15-20 Jr ROTCers from a local high school. They provided some entertainment as they went through their jumping jackets and loud cadence yells. A racer from NC was there with her five year old and boyfriend. I also talked with a grandpa who had a 16 month old, an Air Force retiree and his wife, etc etc. It was fun to interact with folks.