Over the past six years my husband, Al, and I have been running, he has had some of the “best” adventures that always leads to him telling the greatest stories. He’s gotten lost on more than one occasion. He’s puked in front of the Bellagio in Vegas and he’s had to take care of “business” off course behind some trees in Fargo. Yes, he’s had his share of mishaps. But last weekend, at the Fargo Mini Marathon, he had THE BEST story ever.
PICTURE: This was taken at the Medtronics 10-miler we did a few weeks ago. I saw the sign and HAD to take Al’s picture by it. It was SO fitting.
And, he wrote about it in Friday’s Echo Press. Yes, for those of you who didn’t know, my husband and I work at the same newspaper. He is the news and opinion editor and I am a reporter. He’s worked there more than 30 years! Anyway, you can read his story by clicking HERE, or you can read it below.
IT’S OUR TURN: A RACE TO REMEMBER – BY AL EDENLOFF, NEWS/OPINION EDITOR
I’ve had a few adventures while running races.
I’ve gone “off course” – a polite term for “got lost” – many times.
Once, I missed the start of a race because I lined up in the walkers only line.
And for one race, I forgot to pack my shoes.
But last Saturday, the Fargo Mini-Marathon took the cake.
My wife, even though she was battling bronchitis and an asthma flare-up, signed up for the half-marathon, a 13.1-mile race that I’m still amazed and proud she conquered.
I, on the other hand, was lagging in my training and still recuperating from two 10-mile races in the past month, so I signed up for a 10K, a 6.2 mile distance.
The half-marathoners started first, 20 minutes before the 10K, so I had time to wait in the starting line with my wife for a few minutes and wish her well before she took off. Then, remembering another adventure from a few years ago, I left the race area in the Fargo Civic Center to take a quick bathroom break.
When I returned a few minutes later, I was a little surprised that the race was about to start. Just as I got my watch and earbuds going, they started the countdown and we were off.
After about a mile, I knew something was wrong. There were a lot of kids and several people just walking. There was a very casual feel to the race. And then I finally noticed the signs at a turn – arrows beneath the word, “5K.” There were no 10K arrows.
Yep, I was running in the wrong race.
The 5K, a 3.1-mile race that I forgot they were even having, started 10 minutes before the 10K. But what could I do? It was too late to turn around. I was already a mile and a half into it. So I decided to complete the 5K and see if there was still time to get into the 10K.
I did all right, slowing my pace a little in case I would be able to eventually get into the right race.
Then, as I made my final push to the finish line inside the Civic Center, I realized something: I was still wearing my 10K race bib.
Over the loudspeaker to an arena filled with hundreds – maybe thousands – of race fans, a voice boomed, “And now we have our first 10K finisher coming in – a 55-year-old from Alexandria, Minnesota, with a record time of 25 minutes and 32 seconds is…”
And then he said my name, of course. He even pronounced it right, dang it.
Horrified I would be ruining some other runner’s moment, I frantically shook my head no and waved by hands in the air.
The crowd loved my “victory wave.” They cheered even louder.
“No! I messed up! I did the wrong race! I only did a 5K!” I shouted.
No one seemed to hear.
I managed to make my way to the announcer and explained what happened. Thankfully, he was understanding. He quickly announced a correction and graciously attributed the mix-up to a “computer glitch.”
I felt stupid but shook it off, turned back to the starting area and knocked out another 6.2 miles. No more adventures that day. When I crossed the finish line for a second time, there were no cheers, no announcement. I was perfectly OK with that.
And hey, the race left me with a moment to remember: How many runners get to hear their name announced and cheered as a first place, record-setting winner?
PICTURE: This is the actual article as it appeared in the Friday, October 28 issue of the Echo Press.
PICTURE: Al after the race, er……after the RACES!