Runners get each other

For a bunch of years, I was a long distance runner. I found daily running to be satisfying and emotionally rewarding. As good as running alone is, running with others was better. Famed running doctor, George Sheenan called organized races “the love making for runners.”

One day in 1981, I received an invitation to a marathon scheduled for my 36th birthday. How nice of them to do this. With adequate warning, I could prepare properly for the 26.2 mile ordeal. I sent in my application and set my running schedule for the next two months on the same Sunday.

As a way to get shape for the marathon, I registered for two separate half-marathons which were well in my comfort zone. These races would stretch my racing skills and provide the support I needed from other runners.

The final payout was remarkable. Running the full marathon was the highest athletic achievement of my life, and I have buckets of fond memories about it.

Last weekend, I rode with my cousin, Steve Mascherino to Myrtle Beach, SC. Two of his children, Curt and Stephanie had registered to run in Dasani half-marathon race.

Friday night, I joined the Mascherinos for the traditional pre-race carbo loading spaghetti meal. I felt the need to pass along some sage advice to my younger cousins since this will be their first halves. Simply, I told them to avoid getting too caught up in the pageantry and to start out slowly and slow down. I told them to just finish even if walking is needed.

My contribution to the race was as a hydration delivery specialist. I was one of many volunteers handing out Power Aid drinks to the 6,000 runners.

Later, Steve told me both Curt and Stephanie had finished in the top 10% of  their catagories. This was quite the accomplishment since neither had done much previous long distance running. I was quite proud of them and more than a little envious.

My hat’s off to these young athletes. They both finished higher in the field of half-marathons than I’ve ever been able to do. I hope they continue to run and enjoy it.

Epilogue: Curt and Stephanie were both able to go out clubbing after the race. On the other hand, I was wiped out from shoveling cups of Power Aid and went home early.


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