Runners Are Nice People

On Saturday, I gathered with the other runners near ONEOK Field to wait for the YWCA’s Race Against Racism to start. As I stood with my husband Wes and a friend, Dave Reynolds, I noticed that a woman kept looking at me as if she knew me. I’ll admit that sometimes I don’t remember people, but I usually have a glimmer of recognition. I couldn’t place her. This woman would just pass by and look at us.

Finally, she said, “How fast do you think you’ll run this race?” Now, she didn’t appear to be the competitive type, so I thought maybe she was just striking up a conversation.

Wes had already run eight miles that morning, and I had already run two with the dog, so we certainly weren’t trying to break any records. Dave was also just planning to run an easy 5K.

“The reason I’m asking,” the woman went on, “is that my son wants to run it in 25 minutes. He’s 11.”

It wasn’t until then that I noticed the kid, Corbin. He had sandy hair and a big grin. His mom told us she thought runners were pretty nice people, and she didn’t want Corbin to run by himself. She didn’t run that fast, and she was looking to find someone to pace him, so we said, “Sure.”

The gun sounded and we took off. At first we were running together, and then Corbin, Wes and Dave pulled a little ahead of me. It was so cute to see Corbin running, almost touching, Dave, who ran a nice even pace right beside him. There weren’t any time splits (that I noticed) except at the halfway point, so Dave was making sure that Corbin was running a pace to meet his goal of 25 minutes.

Like most of the country, I had been in a cloudy funk after the marathon bombing. Things like that can make you fearful and distrustful. Watching Corbin and Dave lifted my spirits – two strangers, a kid and an adult, pumping along as if they were one person. To me, it embodied what the Race Against Racism is about – people coming together, pulling each other along and lifting one another up.

As we neared the finish line, I looked up to see if Corbin was going to make his time. The clock said 25:06. His official chip time was 24:50 – first in his age group!

Categories: Editor’s Blog