It was decided that we would enter our first sports race or challenge as it was also called. The event was for a really good cause and sounded like a great idea. We would all train accordingly in preparation for the big day. A sixty-mile course consisting of three paddling legs, two cycling segments and two running courses lied ahead. We decided which part of the race each of us would complete and recruited a driver for our team.
We came up with a team name, and so we had the birth of the Warren Street Rat Pack. What we might have lacked in physical ability, we would make up in enthusiasm. We arrived at the starting point adorn with our team t-shirts. We looked like true contenders. My teammates left me at the starting line to run my leg of the challenge and headed off to the next checkpoint.
When it was time for the challenge to begin, I joined the large group of runners at the starting line. I observed some of the runners stretching, some walking in circles nervously and decided to converse with a small group who chattered and laughed non-stop while waiting for the race to begin.
I have never been in a race before, the excitement of taking off swept me away. People lined that streets and were cheering. I stuck with the group of runners until I realized I was completely out of breath and was running at speed that was twice as fast as I had ever gone before.
I managed to finish my leg in the time that I had hoped for, with only two runners finishing behind me. My team cheered me on as if I was the first to cross the line and I felt like a champion. It was time to pass the baton to our next team member who would embark on his first kayak ride since he attended summer camp as a boy.
With the completion of each leg of the race, our team members applauded wildly and acknowledged success for the person who just finished their turn. I am sure the spirit of our team was lifted a bit higher when one our teammates took off with a giant smile while ringing the bell on her three-speed bike. We all followed her in the car for a bit, laughing as we watched her emanating joy with her smile, waving to every person she passed by.
The first place team had long since passed the finish line, the check in points were being dismantled, and the big celebration party had already kicked off when we had one last kayak route to complete. Now on his second kayak ride since attending summer camp as a boy, our finish line team member set off to complete the challenge for our team. We did our best to stay close enough to him, so that he could hear us rooting for him. Our excitement level was high, as we were about to complete our first sports race, or challenge as it was also called.
At last we helped our kayaker to pull the boat ashore after he crossed the finish line. Jumping up and down, hugging one another, offering raised hands welcoming the high-fives, we had finished. The encouragement we gave to each other, the laughter we shared and the way we embraced each part of the journey put us on a winning team, which by the way came in last.
We all agreed to enter the Greenway Challenge together again this year. Although we have considered making some changes in our strategy looking back, perhaps we shouldn't change a thing.
Copyright © 2007 Shirley Warren