A Mile in my shoes
Big Wild Life Runs gets A-plus for bringing back iconic race; "More than 30 years later, I remember this as a Chariots of Fire moment"
By Melissa DeVaughn, Alaska Coast magazine
I still remember the first time I ran the Mile. I was in fifth grade, and Mrs. Foster, my teacher, challenged our class to race it. Everyone jumped and cheered and fist-bumped until she pointed out that the route would follow along the perimeter of the baseball diamond out to the fields behind our school not once, or twice, but three times.
Enthusiasm waned at the distance, but we gamely took off, sprinting foolishly at sub 4-minute paces for about 100 yards (it was all measured in yards back then, no silly meters to worry about). One-by-one, kids began to slow, walk and eventually stop altogether. But James, Angie, Randy and I kept going. I was an extremely competitive little kid, all elbows and angles and half the size of my classmates. I wouldn’t have minded losing to Angie – she was my best friend, after all – but to lose to a boy like James or Randy was simply unacceptable.
I churned my arms and pistoned my legs – I still remember the feel of the bumpy terrain on the ballfield’s outer perimeter – and kept long, lanky-limbed James in my sights. Randy and Angie had fallen back; now, the race was on.
More than 30 years later, I remember this as a Chariots of Fire moment – I’m passing James right at the finish line, and he’s looking dejected after being beat by a girl. I have no idea if that’s the reality, but I do know I won. And in that moment, I became a lifelong runner.
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