Friday, June 5, 2009

Riding in the Running Race


Photo by Jelena Bozic, Tallil Ali Air Base

Every Wednesday at 0600 is the “First Light 5k” race at the “House of Pain” gym. For almost a month now I have not been allowed to run because of a bone spur in my right heel. So while I can’t run, I have volunteered to be the “Pace Bike” for the weekly event. The course has six right turns and two lefts on double oval so every week for the first few weeks, someone would get lost. One new racer who claimed to be able to run under 18 minutes for the 5k got off course while in the lead, so the pace bike is actually useful. I also like being at the race since almost forty of Echo Company’s hundred soldiers run every week. The top runners in the company are training for the Army 10-miler in October. We will have a team. But the majority are training for a passing time or a better time on their two-mile run. In any case Echo Company is about 1/3 of the field most weeks, but is out of the prize categories.

The organizers—the base Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) office—give medals to first and second place in 10-year age groups from under 30 to 50+ and medals to the overall male and female winners. I got a medal in the only race I ran because that week the usual winner was on leave. The overall winner for the last three weeks is a 55-year-old warrant officer who runs between an 18-flat and 18:30 5k. So my medal was a matter of good timing. There is supposed to be a lieutenant who is currently on leave who runs a 17-minute 5k, but for now the old guy rules.