Alumni run battles wet summer day
Mother nature tried to rear its ugly head Saturday, but the show must go on.
And it did - rainy and autumn-like.
Nearly 30 of us showed up and most of us finished the race, if you can even call it that. Later we sat around, reminisced and enjoyed an early lunch.
All in all, the second annual Baldwin High School cross-country alumni run was another success. Attendance was slightly down this year, but as one of the organizers, I sort of expected that.
There were some attendees from a year ago that had prior obligations, were out of the country or were in the process of moving. However, we did have one special alumnus return that no one expected.
He held several BHS records for decades, including the 1,600 or mile until a fellow by the name of Matt Noonan came along. He was a 1975 BHS graduate and lives in Topeka. In fact, he went to college with Noonan's father, Tom, and that was his contact for the annual run.
Eric North became the eldest BHS graduate to participate in the second year event. I didn't get the experience to chat with him much, but his appearance was enough to make me realize why we started this a year ago. I hope to have more folks like him come out in future year.
Unfortunately for North and the rest of us, I chose a bad day to host the run. Despite a 20 percent chance or rain Saturday, the morning was filled with rain showers and some lightning. That never stopps cross-country runners and wasn't going to this year.
Our original start time of 9 a.m. was pushed back about 30 minutes because of lightning. The rain eased up and the bolts quit striking, so we headed to the start line for a two-mile "fun run" or race, depending on each person's opinion.
I'll spare the details of the race, as it involved us running the Baldwin City Municipal Golf Course one more time. I'll just say there was some heavy breathing and bodies hurting.
I, however, can say I wasn't in that crowd this year, except maybe the breathing. In comparison to last year, this was a complete 180-degree turn around.
I struggled through last year's run, but with some help from the Bulldog Days program, I survived the second year. I even managed to negative split my miles, running 7:00 for the first and 6:25 for the second.
Yeah, I know those times aren't great, but considering the small amount of distance running I've done, I was impressed. I'll just add in that the winner, Matt Noonan, was about two minutes ahead of me.
This was his second year in a row to take the gold. Although he technically tied Cole Gladhart, a fellow 2000 graduate, for the win. Noonan, a 2002 graduate, ran for the University of Missouri and is back in great running shape. I'm not sure if I see him losing this event in the near future.
Gladhart might have given him another tight race this year and maybe one of them would have actually won this year. Instead, he is halfway around the world in Seoul, South Korea.
He actually did run a timed two-mile on Saturday and submitted his time. He ran a 10:33, which would have beat Noonan by around 30 seconds, if the two times were compared. I have to credit Gladhart for a great time, because that is equal or better than he ran at BHS, so maybe next year we might see a new victor.
I would like to thank the current BHS runners for participating in the annual event. It is fun having them join us, because it shows that the cross-country team is a unique family that sticks together. Although they definitely beat me in the race, I hold no grudges.
Thanks again everyone for another successful event. Next year hopes to be bigger and better, but don't worry, you've got 11 months to start training.
Except me, I have another alumni run in September - with Baker University. This will require more running so stay tuned.