Mesa Monument Striders Running Club

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The Noble Last Race and Whose Foot Was That by Liz Norris

Posted by randeebergen@msn.com on July 14, 2013 at 6:35 PM

 As Tom Ela stated, Marty Wacker has been deported to California. There are faster runners in California but Marty stated that he would just have to get faster and knowing Marty he will. Marty has been a great friend and a great presence in the running community. His love of running is not all competitive although he does that well. Marty’s last race here in the valley was the Fruitvale 5k at Matchett Park. He could have easily won it. Instead he chose to pace a young girl and help her run it. We will miss you Marty. Fruitvale brought many area runners whom I didn't know.  I recognized Larry I, Sheryl D, Warren, Jeannie B, Jeri H, Jeannie G. and Sheryl S. Kathy Hayes helps put on the event. Numerous kids ran which is a wonderful sight. Some of those kids were able to pace themselves well. As I was running Fruitvale I had a few goals set for myself. Almost halfway through the race I looked at my watch and noticed that I was not running as well as I thought I should. Then I looked over and saw a foot of a runner getting ready to pass me. I thought to myself – people should not be passing me now and picked up the pace. I did not know who the owner of that foot was until after the race. It was Jeannie Grooms. Most of the time when I have finished ahead of her in a race she was injured, ran a marathon the week before, or something like that. Years ago in a track race I beat Jeannie in a short race. That track race and the Fruitvale run may be the only times I beat her on merit rather than luck but I am confident that she will fly by me in future races. Had I known whom the foot belonged to I may not have had the confidence to take off like that. I did run 26:06 which was a PR for that race but a minute slower than I ran the other Matchett race. I was happy with it anyway and I owe this not only to training but also not knowing the identity of the person behind that foot until after the race. Jeannie is another person, whom, like Marty, where running is more than simply kicking butt although she can do that well. I have seen Jeannie run with others and encourage them. Years ago I saw her running with a slower runner and cheering that runner in the Winter Sun. Runners like Marty and Jeannie are examples of running being so much more than competition. The events at Boston have given me much more gratitude just to be out there running and be part of it. I hope to finish my 95th marathon in a few weeks. The best thing we can do, for all of its reasons, is to keep on running.

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