Post-race, post-dinner, I have barely settled into my easy chair when my kitty makes a stealthy appearance. Her sole purpose in life is to seek me out of whatever corner of the house I try to escape to and curl herself into a purr-ball on my lap. Four years ago she was a kitten that my eldest daughter smuggled into the house under her jacket. That tiny kitten has grown into the useless lump snoozing on my tired thighs. Well, I suppose if applying body heat to achy muscles fills a purpose, then maybe she's not entirely useless. OK Kitty, you can stay.
Reflecting on today's race, mist and clouds created a grey backdrop for the 35th running of the Pioneer 8K. Like players in an ensemble cast; front-runners, mid-packers, and the non-fast but spirited finishers, all filled key roles as the race played itself out. Generations of runners appeared and disappeared in the mist. 606 runners in all. 310 Men, 99 of them under 40, 211 over 40; 296 Women, 120 of them under 40, 176 over 40. 606 faces, young and old, smiling, grimacing, mugging for the camera, or too focused on their efforts to acknowledge the camera. Each runner has a reason to be part of the long stream of steaming bodies. 606 individual commitments equals one mass of humanity crossing the same finish line. The majority will not become famous for their efforts but will non-the-less become better as a result.
For most of those men, women, boys and girls, the Pioneer marks their first race of the year; for everyone it's the first race of the 2015 Island Series. Today marks a new beginning; be it a new age group, a new set of goals, a return to running, a newly minted runner, or a continuing commitment to being a runner. For some it's "Thanks for the race, the good food and get together. See you next year." For others it's "One down seven to go. See you at Cobble Hill."
To those who have decided to make running a part of their life, may 2015 bring a spring to your step. (Now excuse me while I toss this lazy cat off my lap before my legs fall asleep).