I wasn’t an athlete in high school, and certainly not in college. When I graduated and started working at the newspaper in Augusta, I started running regularly. I didn’t run for conditioning, or to compete, or to associate with other runners. I just liked to run. I liked running up hills, I liked running in miserably hot weather, and I liked running in cold weather. I felt good when I ran and I felt good after I ran.
When I quit the newspaper in 1976 and moved to Lake Tahoe for about 18 months, I started running more seriously. The great thing there was that I could run on dirt trails in the woods. In early summer of 1977 I decided to run the Silver State Marathon, which took place around Labor Day near Carson City, Nevada. That was my first race. I trained all summer, gradually increasing my distance, if not my speed. I was happy to finish in under four hours, although about midway in the race I developed a blister on one heel that was about the size of a silver dollar. How appropriate.
When I started graduate school at Georgia Tech in 1980, I got even more serious about running. I had an eight-mile course that I ran every day after school. I wasn’t interested in racing. I enjoyed the time I spent on my solitary runs. I would see someone jogging along my running course and think that I wasn’t like them; I was not a jogger, I was a runner. I couldn’t imagine not running.
Eventually I decided to run a few races. I don’t remember how many I ran in my racing career, but it was less than 10.
These race numbers were in an old trunk I found while cleaning out my mother’s house.
I don’t know which races the unlabeled numbers came from. The Mountain Goat 8 Mile was run at Berry College. The course wound around a dirt road on Lavender Mountain, not too far from where we live now. I also don’t remember the times I ran in all those races, but I was fairly happy with them.
The last race of my career was a 15 km run, the Chieftains Road Race, held in 1984 at Berry College. The certificate in the upper right of the picture is from that race. The winner of the 15-km race was from Mexico City. He ran and won the 5-k race to warm up for the 15-k. His pace was about 5:50 per mile. My pace in that race was a little over 6:22 a mile, the best I ever did. I was fifth in my age group (30-34), and I actually beat the fastest woman runner by about a second.
Not long after that race my knee started hurting. It got bad enough that I had to stop running shortly after that. I swam for exercise for about a year, and then started running again. Slowly. Very slowly. And then not at all. I miss running. I even dream about running. Now I can hardly run across the street.
But once I was a runner.