The Caboose Club

The Caboose Club is for runners who come in last in their age group in a race. Took me years of racing to qualify. Considering how slow I run, that’s saying something. Oh, I was always at the back of the pack, but I was only last in my age group once.

I remember running my one and only marathon, when I was young and 40. I started out with two training buddies. Big races like marathons have a vehicle with a sign saying “End of the Race” that is supposed to stay behind the last runners to protect them from traffic.

Our End of the Race vehicle kept passing the three of us. The driver didn’t like going that slow. She’d pass us, stay in front of us for a while, then drop back behind us. Soon she’d pass us again. We heard her complain to the police officers assigned to the race that the drivers behind her were honking and she was embarrassed. (Someone needed assertiveness training. I’m just saying.)

Turns out our running that slow also caused the police motorcycles to overheat. They weren’t built to go that slow for long, long periods of time.

It took me more than 5 1/2 hours to finish the marathon. My husband went back home after dropping me off at the start area, did some chores, read a book, ate lunch, played on the computer, played with the dogs, then came back and had to wait, wait, wait some more for me.

I didn’t “race” as much as I “participated.” I always followed race etiquette and started out at the back of the throng. I pretty much stayed there the rest of the way. I have seen the back side of many an elite racer, let me tell you what.

After the race results were posted, my favorite thing to do was to take my race time and see which age group I had to be in to place (be first, second or third). Usually it was in the 80-85 age group. Something to look forward to, I thought, when I get older . . . as long as everyone else in my age group stays home on race day.

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