(This is a work of fiction)
Lenny stood at the starting line with the other three hundred or so participants for the St. Clair County 10K race. It was about twenty-five minutes after seven as he looked out at the sea of people that had gathered to watch, run, or volunteer for the race.
Drew Cargile was panting and pedaling laboriously. His cadence was well below the 90 rotations per minute he wished to achieve.
“The body will pass out before it dies,” said Pete Coleman as he and Raymond Boone opened a 100-yard gap on their riding partner.
“ I know the way home; ya’ll don’t have to wait on me,” said Drew.
" Strolling Jim 40," it's called, but it's really 41.2 miles, my first ultra.
There are 2 start times: 5am for the "trekkers," and 7am for the competitors. I called it the geezer start, and took that option, with almost half the other entrants. It's a pretty close-knit bunch, mostly regulars, who run this. There were a couple women on the sideline in the dark shortly after our start, good-naturedly hollering out well wishes for the "trekker trash." I heard there were more than 70 entered.
I had hoped to finish in about 9 hours, but after driving the course the day before, I added 15 or 20 minutes because of the hills. They looked bad. This meant about 1:07 or 1:08 for every 5 miles.
2:30a.m. 3:20a.m. 4:05a.m. 5:35a.m. Drew’s patience could stand it no longer. He turned off the alarm clock set for 6:00a.m. This 14th day of December is not unlike another famous December day for this father of two. It came with similar anticipation of a Christmas morning and had been circled on his calendar for the better part of six months. Both days required strategic planning and forethought if all is to go as desired. And at the end of both days, he hoped to be filled with immense satisfaction and no doubt some well-deserved weariness. However, that is where the similarities ended.