Aching for a run


© Tim LaBarge 2001

My sister Elise called to tell me she’d just picked up her number and shirt for this weekend’s half-marathon in St. Louis. She told me she planned to run by herself and enjoy the scene. Last year, I did the marathon…she did the half. We were hanging out, stretching before the race talking about that amazing energy that surges through the pack of runners as start time approaches. But then I wanted to be alone and so did she. Though we slid into our own little worlds, we were very much not alone as we raced through the streets of St. Louis. The call made me think of these photos.

Two years before I took these pictures, I was waiting near the final turn of the Portland Marathon hoping I hadn’t missed seeing my wife go by. An older man, probably in his late seventies, rounded the bend and spotted the finish line just half a block away. His arms went up and the crowd erupted with applause and cheers.

And then while on a trip to Alaska, my brother Tommy was training for the Chicago Marathon and had a few long runs planned. I borrowed a bike from a fisherman near Seward and joined him on an 18-mile run one chilly, September morning. I was curious. I hadn’t ever run that far at that point in my life. I didn’t think I could or would ever run that far. The thought of that old man hovered in my mind and watching Tommy slip into a smooth gait and click off the miles made me want to try for myself.

And so I’ve done a couple of races now. I’m not a fanatic, but I think I get it. I wish I could have joined Elise again this year…


© Tim LaBarge 2001

1 comment

  1. I’ve always thought those Tommy pics would look nice in the “Rave Run” section of Runner’s World…

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