Monday, July 5, 2010

The Race

This was the reason for what we did Saturday morning: about 20 family members gathered in Ripley, WV to participate in the Ripley Firecracker 2-Mile Run/Walk as part of the city's 4th of July celebration. Jon intended to be here this year to run with his brothers. So we decided that he'd be there in spirit. We used his motto on t-shirts:

The back of the shirts featured the photo that we're using as a bronze plaque on Jon's gravestone.

Family from four states came to be part of the event on Saturday. Nephew Chris, his wife Susan and their children Hope, Garrett, and Cade are from Texas; my sister Maggie and her husband Roger came from Maryland, Theresa and Jay came from Virginia, and there were a lot of us representing West Virginia--George from the eastern part of the state, Aaron and his wife Jaime from the northern area and the rest of us from right here in Jackson County.

Only Jordan and her husband Ethan and baby Cadyn somehow weren't there for the photo, but they had their t-shirts. Michaela and James got their shirts a little later.

From left, back row: Jaime, Roger, Jay, Aaron, Chris, Jared, George, Derek. Second row from left: Michaela, Larry, Maggie, Theresa, me, Haley, and Amy. Front row, from left: Garrett, Cade, Hope, James, Ben and Sam in the stroller.

Three of our sons ran in the race: George, Aaron and Derek. All did well. I think Derek and George might have placed in their age group, but there seemed to be a problem with the times and we still don't know for sure who finished where. (This was a problem at least once before so I hope the committee that plans the event makes sure it doesn't happen again. It's pretty dispiriting for the runners (who each paid $15 to participate) to find out in the end that the results were uncertain.)

Cousin Chris ran for the first time this year, coming all the way from Texas to do so. He loves to clown around, can you tell?

The Sistahs! Just before the race when we weren't all sweaty and hot. Me, Maggie and Theresa represented the over-50 generation, along with Larry and Maggie's husband Roger.

Grandson Jared was the first in the family to finish the race, and I believe he placed 2nd in his age group. Granddaughter Haley also placed 2nd in her age category but it looks like we missed getting a photo of her finishing the race.

Maggie and Roger were walkers, and finished about 2 minutes ahead of Larry and me--which is a good long time in the race. But hey, they're younger by about 5 years or so :-) They actually ran for some segments, and I have to admit we ran very little and did not attempt to hurry; our goal was to finish.

Larry and I were the VERY LAST people to cross the finish line and there is no photo of the glorious moment to share with you unfortunately. It was funny though--the guy leading us in on the bike got everyone clapping and cheering as we crossed, and the parade was right on our heels so my sister Maggie said we must have been the parade grand marshals! Too funny. I was laughing so hard I forgot how hot I was.

We had fun and walked a steady pace, and weren't sore the next day. The way I see it, someone has to be last. I would guess we were the only great-grandparents in the event, and the only people I saw anywhere near our age were the serious runners. Still, I'd like to be at least second to last next year! So it's time to start working toward that goal.

I loved having so many of us there, wearing our shirts and remembering Jon. We were asked about the shirts and what they represented and I was glad to tell people why we were wearing them. Jon's motto drove us to commit to being there, and to doing something besides mourning and crying. We were together and strong and that's what Jon would have loved. I'm pretty sure he would have liked those shirts too.


Kate Dudding said...

Dear Granny Sue,

A friend of mine once jogged/ran in a race, came in last, and placed third in her age group (since there were only three women in her age group.) She couldn't figure out if she should be proud or not.

I admire both this friend and you for starting AND finishing the course.


Granny Sue said...

Well Kate, I figure we still did better than the hundreds of people lining the route to watch :-) At least we were moving, although slowly for sure!

Jaime said...

We did good! Our family can accomplish anything. I realized how many of us there were about the time we lined up for our picture. I have to admit, the pride did make me shed a few tears.

Mary said...

Good for you! Now, if you don't want to be last, just recruit someone slower than you, as in the story of the two men and the bear, "I don't have to run faster than the bear, just faster than you."
Thanks for sharing such a meaningful event with us.

Granny Sue said...

Good idea, Mary! I'll work on that--and on getting a little faster. I don't mind being last, but I'd like to be a little closer to the other participants!

Country Whispers said...

What great fun!
I was in Ripley several years ago for the 4th events and I would have to say that your town IS the biggest when it comes to celebrating the 4th.
So glad that all of your family were able to come together for that event and I'm sure Jon was smiling down for the Ford-itude that you all showed.

Twisted Fencepost said...

Way to go, Susanna! (and hubby)
Jon is proud of you, I'm sure of it.

Granny Sue said...

Thank you, Jessica and Becky. I like to think he'd be proud, even if he was laughing at us old fat people chugging across the finish line :)

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