Sunday, October 9, 2011

Bury Me Not on LBI....

Under the heading of "But it seemed like a good idea at the time" at or about 10:30 this morning, Gidg and I will join several hundred other runners at the southern tip of Long Beach Island for a run that finishes at the Barnegat Light House....which is located at the northern end of Long Beach Island.

In between its southernmost point and its northernmost point, lies eighteen miles worth of points. Yep, eighteen miles. I am constrained to point out at this juncture that when I signed up for this event I presumed that the temperature on October's second Sunday would be seasonal. The good news is it shall be. The bad news is that the season it shall emulate is summer. Today's projected high temperature in LBI? An autumnal 82 degrees. While I sought law school as a refuge from mathematics, even I possess the skills needed to do this equation: 18 miles @ 82 degrees = PAIN.

I have lived in Jersey my whole life and have spent my fair share of time at the Shore. That being said, today is to my memory only the second or third time in my life that I will have set foot on LBI. About four years ago, I had to make an appearance in the Ship Bottom Municipal Court for a client and (as it turned out) two of his friends (for reasons of confidentiality we shall refer to them simply as "Joe's Surf Posse").

Other than that morning on the Island, the only other time I recall spending at LBI was the week prior to my heading off to my freshman year at CU. A group of four or five of us rented a house there for a week in late August 1985. From that point forward to this very day I have always remembered that experience less than fondly. At some point this afternoon, it will likely assume status as the best time I have ever had while on LBI.

Today's event - while hard almost to the point of suicidal given the complete lack of "long run" training I have done for it - is one with a long and beautiful history. Its history is proof positive of the power that some people possess to make something wonderful out of something horrible:

In 1972, Bill Fitzpatrick, a Long Beach Island resident and Rutgers University track man, wanted to organize a race from one end of Long Beach Island to the other, just for fun.

That same year, 11 Israeli athletes were murdered by terrorists at the Munich Olympics. It was then, organizers decided to make it a commemorative race, dedicating it to the memory of the slain athletes. A mile-marker, in honor of each Israeli athlete, is posted approximately every two miles along the race route, which runs from Holgate to Barnegat Light.

In remembrance of the events that occurred in the U.S. on September 11, 2001, the race is also dedicated to those who lost their lives as a result of the terrorist attack on our country. There are three mile-markers bearing the names of L.B.I. residents who lost their lives that day. Both events will continue to be commemorated annually.

Each year, the winner is honored by having his or her name inscribed on the trophy which is donated by the Long Beach Island Jewish Community Center.

While enduring pain is not among my favorite things to do, given the history of this event and its stated purpose, no matter how today goes I shall endeavor to get through it with minimal whining....and crying. Presuming that I live to tell the tale, I shall - if not tomorrow then within the next couple of days. If I do not, then Margaret will simply ask the people who organize this event to weight me down and toss me into the ocean.

See you soon?


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