Saturday, April 28, 2012

Chuck at the race

An 83-year-old man smoked me at this morning's Dogwood Classic 5K race -- except I didn't know it until I was standing in the food line across from him.

We met over the bagels and bananas after the run and struck up a conversation. Turns out his name was Chuck. I had to repeat my name a few times. "These hearing aids don't work as well when you get to be my age," he said. I chuckled.

Then, as is good race etiquette, he asked me how I did. I said OK, considering I had only run once since the Knoxville Marathon relay four weeks ago. I finished the three-mile race in about 30 minutes.

"We were in the same neighborhood," Chuck said. I really looked at him then. "Oh, yeah?" I said in a surprised voice. (I suspect he came in 10-20 seconds ahead of me.) I became super curious at that point. I had to give him a high five...or rather, an elbow five since our hands were full of food.

Chuck told me he began running at age 52 or 53 to overcome depression. He also was going through a divorce and running became a saving grace. He's been hitting the pavement ever since. He encouraged me to keep running. "You've got youth on your side," he said.

I was so inspired and gave him another elbow five. This experience with Chuck validates the main reason I run races: the camaraderie I find among other runners.

Speaking of camaraderie, I saw five pals -- two editors and three reporters -- from the Knoxville News Sentinel: John, Eric, Lance, Natalie and Gerald. That was pretty awesome.


  1. yay! but you never said how fast he went. I love how you meet new people wherever you go. I admire that about you, my friend.

    1. Oh, yes. I checked our times later that night and it was worse than I thought. Chuck ran the race in 28 mins, 59 secs. I ran it in 30 mins, 5 secs. He beat me by a full minute and 6 secs. I should be ashamed...But I love it! :)