No it’s not me; I spell my name Reed and I’m not that great.
A friend of mine recommended reading the book Duel in the Sun by John Brant and I’m glad he did! It’s the story of the 1982 Boston Marathon featuring Alberto Salazar, the charismatic Cuban-American, vs. Dick Beardsley, the shy Minnesota farm boy. The ‘duel’ between these two creates one of the closest finishes in Boston’s history. Perhaps the term ‘finish’ stands as one of the most important words of the book. Simply put, this race marked the finish of these two athletes premier running careers for different reasons. The marathon acts as a tipping point in these two men’s lives both athletically and personally.
Likewise at a macro-level this race acts as one of the last gasps of American Distance Running as shortly thereafter Ethiopian and Kenyan names would dominate the prize winners of America’s great races beyond Boston. It will be interesting to see if the recent resurgence of American runners with names like Hall, Kastor, Goucher, and Sell can dislodge the foreign domination.
While this is a book about a race, one does not have to be a runner to enjoy it. It is, in the end, the story of endurance, tragedy, and redemption. It is the story of what it is to be human and achieve beyond human results.
It’s a ‘fast read’ that will stick in your mind for a long time!
April 30th, 2009
No it’s not me; I spell my name Reed and I’m not that great.
April 23rd, 2009
My family went down to South Carolina for Spring Break. My wife and youngest son flew down as did my oldest and his college roommate. I was ‘blessed’ the opportunity to drive my middle son with 3 other high school seniors; who do you think got the best deal? My son offered to drive (a nice gesture) but I doubt I could have closed my eyes as he attempted to navigate I-95. My wife had bought me a container of ‘5 Hour Energy’ an elixir I had never had the ‘privilege’ of trying before. Two comments; the stuff tastes terrible and it gave me a stomachache for hours. Hey, maybe that’s how it works! I suppose they would sell more of the stuff calling it ‘5 Hour Energy’ than ‘5 Hour Stomachache’.
Well, we all arrived safely and did the ‘touristy things’; miniature golf, biking, buying ‘schlocky’ tee shirts.
I will say that feeding 7 teenagers made me feel I was important part of the economic stimulus package.
I ran on the beach nearly every day; after all we haven’t got many oceans in Utica!
Why I like running on the beach:
A good deal flatter than the terrain encountered in Upstate New York; also easier on the legs.
Absolutely great people watching and most of them are smiling,
Very cool to see what the waters have washed ashore. Saw a dolphin gliding through the surf no more than 15 yards off shore.
The smells, be it the salty Atlantic or sunscreen. They remind me that someday the warm weather will travel to the North!
I had two ‘it’s a small world moments’. While walking on the beach the life guard sees my son and says I know you; I’m from Clinton. The second experience was when I stopped by the beachfront bar for some libation. The barkeep asked me where I was from when I told him he said: ‘Utica; like the Utica Boilermaker’? I nearly choked on my drink and said: ‘yeah I’m sort of involved with the race. It turns out has was a former transplanted Syracuse native.
While I was ready to get home at the end of the vacation it felt like the drive back was much longer.
My last break before the big race; the clock is ticking….
April 1st, 2009
I mentioned in my blog introduction that I tend to be a solitary runner. There is a time when I will always make myself available; it’s when my son asks me to run. Now let’s get something straight, my son is a college freshman and a former varsity athlete. I am a bordering on 55 year old guy who is finding miles keep getting longer and longer; what is it with that!
Generally we start out together then after about the first mile I get a good chance to see my son’s back. He is a good sport and waits up for me to catch up. Then we repeat the process; it’s sort of like a Slinky. It’s really not that bad; Tim cuts back on his pace so we spend a good deal of time together.
When I run with my son it’s our time to talk about the Boilermaker, school, politics, future plans, or nothing special. In the end the time together is as important as the topic.
It brings a smile to my face as I think of Tim as a smiling kid holding up a sign along the Boilermaker course yelling for me. Now it goes full circle as I get to see him running through the finish line and I cheer for him.
So what are those sweetest words to me? It’s ‘Dad, you want to come and run with me?’
March 20th, 2009
This community never ceases to surprise me with its generosity. On March 7th 8,500 runners and walkers raised $1,164,260 at the Greatest American Heart Run and Walk. This total was only 3% behind what was raised in 2008. Think about where our economy was a year ago and they managed to nearly match the number in the midst of today’s financial crisis.
In a few months hundreds will participate in the Ride for Missing and Exploited Children raising thousands upon thousands of dollars to pay for the nationwide distribution of poster of missing children.
And yes these are the same people who volunteer to make the Boilermaker ‘the best 15k in the USA’!
Where do these people come from? Haven’t they been told that this is an economically depressed region; that we can’t do it?
Does our community have challenges; sure, there are few that don’t. However it is indeed rare to find a community that is as giving as ours; I hear this from the runners that come from all over the country. It is my belief that this community is defined by its tremendous giving nature. I also believe that this race would not have flourished in just any community. The free beer is great but it is the people who work, cheer and yes run that makes this race!
February 27th, 2009
This race is powered by many forces:
An army of dedicated volunteers; many of whom have been there since the beginning.
A legion of runners, joggers and walkers that participate in one or more of our athletic events. These athletes range from the very best their nations have to offer to the ‘back of the packers’.
Finally, the Boilermaker is fueled by sponsors who provide cash, goods and services.
The economic meltdown that the world has experienced has had a profound impact on corporate sponsorship. There is no sport that is not feeling the strong headwinds of lesser available dollars.
The reason our sponsors support the Boilermaker are numerous: civic pride, corporate responsibility, and yes hopefully for you to someday buy their products! Runners on average have among the highest education and net worth among all participatory sports so you are a desired group!
The Boilermaker has prided itself on presenting a world-class event at a reasonable cost to the runner: that happens in part due to the generosity of our sponsors.
Please remember those companies that are willing to spend their money to support you (check out the website to see who they are). If you buy one of their products or use their services say ‘thanks for supporting the Boilermaker’. I guarantee it will make their day!
We all work together to make this ‘the best 15k in the USA’.
February 13th, 2009
On Saturday morning I was driving along the Parkway after going through the perhaps 50th carwash of our ‘lovely’ Winter. I have decided that my next car’s color will be dirt brown with dried salt accents. Coming down the hill near The Utica Zoo I was met with a long cascade of runners stretching out nearly a mile. I then remembered the Boilermaker training program was in progress. The group came in all shapes and sizes; perhaps 60 to 75 in all. There were some running in small clusters laughing or talking, some suffering in silence. Fast runners, slow runners; even walking runners (I’m assuming they started the course running). Yet all had on thing in common; to cross that Boilermaker finish line for the first time on July 12th.
It’s my belief that the running of the Boilermaker is merely the culmination of months of ‘sweat equity’ to make it happen. The discipline and determination a runner puts in to finish 9.3 miles and hopefully sets the stage for a lifetime of exercise starts here. These are the tough runs when you are building up your endurance; no cheering crowds or warm temperatures. This was a typical Utica winter day with a temperature of 10 degrees with a slight biting wind.
I want to give a big shout out to Linda Turner, Mike Kessler and the loyal volunteers who have championed this training program over the years. Thanks to their efforts, hundreds of first-time Boilermaker runners have been created.
If you have the chance on a Saturday morning to see this group running by, give them a honk and a wave; to them this is pretty important stuff!
January 12th, 2009
While I enjoy the company of fellow runners I must admit I prefer the solitary run. Why; because they sometimes create my two mile moments. What is a two mile moment? They are those times when a new solution to a nagging problem comes to the surface. When I realize why someone looked at me funny when I said something. When in short, I have one of those ‘aha’ times. Why two miles? I guess it take me that long to get the neurons popping; the first mile I’m usually cursing myself about running. While I will frequently write about the race (as it is my primary job) I will also write about my community, my family or my random thoughts. I hope you find them thought provoking or at the very least amusing!