Every year from late June through early August the High Desert Runners has a summer cross country series at Pelona Vista Park. Every Thursday night, if I am in town, I am there. It is always awesome. You get out there, run through the heat and dust…. and hang out with a great running community. I always get to see lots of friends and former Hillview runners there.
Of course there is the competitive aspect of the event. If you have participated in at least 3 of the first 6 weeks you are eligible to win awards and HDR Gran Prix Points at the finals. It turned out that a couple of my usual 50 yr age group competitors – Erik Ruble and Joe Kim were not there. But a new year brought new competitors. The undefeated 50 something king for this year was a new to the area, southerner, Jamie Turner. I saw him at the 2nd race of the series and it was not close… I did not even see him anywhere up ahead.
For the finals I made sure I was ready. At my 3 previous trials I ran on tired legs… I took off pretty quick and saw James not too far ahead of me… but alas he steadily pulled away. I noticed another competitor out ahead of me. Pable Alcantar is not in my age division but I saw him a couple runners ahead through the first mile. Back in week two he passed me on the last hill and beat me. He eat me the other two races I was in. After the race when he passed me I talked to him. I said something like, “you passed me out there!” He said, that was my intention….. So, on rested legs I was hoping I could give him a run for his money…
As the 2nd mile got started I found myself slowly gaining on him. We passed a few others along the way. We ran down into the ditch and I was right behind him. Heading to the little backside hill I got by him. Of course I was worried about a comeback so I kept on the gas. I remember going past another guy coming off of the hill. The rest of the way I pushed and gained on a few younger guys holding my poisition. My official time was 23:41. When Alan announced the winners it was confirmed I had won a 2nd place!
The surprise was the guy in 3rd. Daeon Butler was announced. I recognized him as one of those other guys I passed during the race. I didn’t know he was in my age group. In fact I assumed he was not… If I were not trying to get Pablo, I probably would not have caught him… thanks Pablo….