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About Grace December 9, 2016

Posted by Peter Varhol in Uncategorized.
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I’m writing this because someone should. My dear friend Gerie, we ran in a pair of races this past spring.  In the first, at Oak Island, she ran the half marathon, in a very decent 1:56 and change.  I had already run the 5K, and amazingly placed in my age group (old, very old).  The organizers were placing printouts of times (gun time for awards, and chip times otherwise) on a bulletin board, and her eyesight didn’t permit her to read hers.  I crowded into the bulletin board, saw her name, and held up three fingers.

She placed third in her age group, her first placement in a half marathon. There was another woman next to her, who saw her own name, and warmly congratulated Gerie.  It turned out that this woman was, by chip time, a half second faster than Gerie in the same age group, but because they went by gun time, Gerie placed just ahead of her by the same margin.  Grace, indeed.

The next morning, we ran the charity 5K at Fort Fisher. At the very end, Gerie fell at a speed bump, and ended up bleeding profusely in the women’s WC.  There was no first aid for the race, but a woman came up to her and said, “I sent my daughter out to our car for our first aid kit.  We’ll take care of you.”  And they did.  There was no “Do you need help?” or any equivocation.  It just happened.

Grace, indeed.

In early September, at the Virginia Beach half marathon, Gerie finished, and we were walking away from the course, when she suddenly froze with a horrified look on her face. A second later, before I even knew there was a problem, a young man (of color, but I shouldn’t have to specify that) ran up and said, “Let me help you down.”  She sat, with a serious leg cramp, and he continued, “Here’s what you need to do.”  Two police officers stopped to help.  A woman stepped up and said, “You’re dehydrated.  Take my Gatorade.”

In an era where we believe we are self-sufficient, where we need help from no one, where we let our competitive juices take over our emotions, there remain many people like this. A part of that is the running community in general, but it is also very much a part of human nature.

So today, let me ask you this: Who have you helped today?

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