Archive for Thursday, July 9, 2009

Columnist ‘defeats’ Bulldogs at alumni run

Off the Rim column

July 9, 2009

I now have the privilege to say I’ve done what hundreds of high school runners were unable to do this year.

It took a lot of hard work and dedication. As I crossed the finish line, I knew I reached my personal goal Saturday morning.

I defeated the Wright brothers.

Yep, that’s right. I beat Connor and Brian Wright in a cross country race. It was just two miles, but I outsprinted both of them. Unfortunately, there is no brilliant secret to defeating them.

I used the same strategy I did two years ago, when I defeated the legendary Heather Garcia around this time. All it takes is a summer alumni run, where no one takes the two-mile run seriously, especially those still running competitively in high school and college.

For those of us who have been out of high school and college a few years, it’s always nice to say you beat some of the “kids” still in high school. Deep down, I know it was a nice run and most attendees didn’t take it too seriously.

Our third-annual Baldwin High School cross country alumni run was another success. We avoided rain this year and tolerated some mild temperatures for early July.

Once again, around 30 runners attended the event. I was hoping for a few more, but Fourth of July plans might have interfered with the run. In the next year or two, I’d like to have 50 participants, which includes alumni and current BHS runners.

As an incentive to attending, I will be providing t-shirts next year. No plans on the shirts just yet, but it’s time we start printing shirts to remember these wonderful events by each year.

Back to this year’s run, because it was fun. We had a couple new alumni, a new winner and a three-person rope. Kit and Sarah Harris joined us this year since they are training for races later this year. Both are teachers in the school district, but Kit did run cross country one year at BHS.

Another teacher and cross country alumnus was supposed to attend, but he was missing in action at 9 a.m. Saturday. Hopefully, next year we’ll see him out there on the golf course.

Matt Noonan, 2002 graduate and multi-state champion, won the event during the first two years. However, he was unable to attend Saturday. With his presence missing, Caj Kueffer, 2007 graduate, took control and won his first alumni run.

Kueffer blazed ahead of the rest of us. He left us in the dust as soon as the smoke left the gun barrel. Behind him was a pack of about 10 runners, including me. We chatted throughout the run as we pushed a good pace, but nothing near race potential.

Even Kit hung with us younger guys for nearly the entire run. He was a little disappointed when he realized we were talking and laughing for most of the run, while he pushed to stay with us. I say hats off Kit, you ran well, sir.

Near the end of the runners were three girls tied together by a rope. They wanted to run together, since one was in great shape, while another was the opposite. Erica Ogle (2004 graduate), Kayla Pringle (2003 graduate) and Missy Westgate (2005 graduate) enjoyed their bonding time during the run.

A couple of 1996 and one 1999 graduates brought up the rear this year. Some of them almost quit after one mile, but they were pushed on by my older sister, Jessica. Way to take charge, sis!

No date has been set for next year’s alumni run, but July 3 might be the date. I challenge all alumni to spread the word about the event and get in shape to run two miles. You can even do it with little to no conditioning. I know, because I’ve done just that.

On a serious note, I know the Wright brothers and a few other current BHS runners that I defeated could have run me into the ground if they wished. Thanks guys for making the third annual run an enjoyable one. See you next year. Better hope I don’t take it easy on you again.

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