Sunday, December 13, 2009

Stone Cold Perfect

It was indeed chilly yesterday morning along the banks of the Rar-i-tan. Actually, that is not accurate. At no time yesterday morning did the mercury rise to a point where it threatened the realm of chilliness. Nope. Yesterday morning it was simply cold.

And the cold deterred neither our faithful hero (me) or the mass of people who paid the entry fee of a new, unwrapped toy - to be donated to a child in need -just so we could participate in The Big Chill 2009. It is both a run and a walk, which may explain why its web site stated that 4,500 people had registered to participate and its results page listed only 1422 finishers of the 5K race - a fact also explained no doubt by the fact that they simply do not have enough automated timing chips for everyone so if you decide to register on race day you run (pun intended) the risk of there not being any chip for you.

The start of the Chill is an absolute mob scene. From an overhead shot it likely looks as if those assembled are preparing to start the 100 yard dash for people with no sense of direction - milling this way and that. The start is organized by projected finishing time - you are to line up in the grouping whose time most closely relates to your own 5K time. I lined up yesterday as part of the 25 to 30 minute group. While that group is the 3rd group from the front, given the mass of folks who gave up part of a frigid Saturday morning yesterday to do a good thing for children at Christmas time and the casual regard that most of those lined up had for the organizer's best intentions, it took more than one minute to get to the starting line from where I was lined up pre-race. Approximately seventy-five seconds or so after the starter shouted,"Go!" I walked beneath the banner that marked the starting line.

It is a race full of colorful outfits and youthful faces as more RU students than I can count (well, given my math skills that could be a figure as low as 8) roll out of bed early on a Saturday morning to do their part. The best story I heard yesterday morning was courtesy of two RU students (both male) who were standing near me at the start. One of the two lives in a house with a number of other guys - all of whom were also participating in yesterday's race. Apparently the plan was for the whole house to ride to the Chill together. Unfortunately, their plan - as the best-laid plans of mice and men often do - fell by the wayside. The young man telling the story said that when he got up yesterday morning his house was empty. None of his roommates was there. As he was trying to sort out what had happened, his cell phone rang. He answered it to hear one of his mates asking him, "Remember that movie Home Alone about the family that goes on vacation and only realizes after leaving that they forgot something at home? Well..."

In the scenario that played itself out yesterday morning, the young guy standing near me was Kevin. And as was the case in the original, he came through the whole inadvertent abandonment process just fine, thank you very much.

As did all of us who got our Chill on yesterday morning - regardless of our finishing time.


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