Since 1982 I've written a newsletter, Running Commentary. A new issue appears here each week, and material is archived.

Tue, 12 Dec 2000 09:02:32 -0500

Feel-Good Day

(from RC 334)

Marc Bloom, writing in his magazine The Harrier, compared the Olympics unfavorably against his favorite branch of the sport. “At least we’ve got the warm and cuddly cross-country season to make us feel better,” he wrote after the Games. Marc is most fond of the running that high schoolers do in this season, since he coaches as well as writes about them.

I agree with his choice. I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else last weekend than at Oregon’s High School Championships.

It’s the best day of the year to be a running fan in this state. All sizes of schools run the same course on the same day, in six races lasting most of the afternoon.

This is a feel-good meet to watch, if not to run. These runners all start at a dead sprint. Standing close enough to the course to see them sweat and hear them pant, you feel some of what they feel.

On Saturday we watched a favored girl fall back through the field and wind up in an ambulance. In a boys’ race one of the early leaders was reduced to walking the last lap on the track and finishing last.

You hurt for these kids, even without knowing them, by seeing how bad they feel. And you celebrate with the winning individuals and teams, while having no connection to them, by sensing how great they feel.

These kids left me feeling good. They refreshed memories of my old autumn days like this, and they showed me that racing at its purest and simplest level is still in great shape.

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