# 585 An old hound of heaven finishes a marathon 4-16-16 (Go to 580 for words to search)

It was 3 hours and 40 minutes
into what would be
my 5th and final
Marine Corps Marathon.

They host a good race,
the Marines,

but the weird November weather
in Washington D.C.
was taking its toll on me.
Sunshine,
but a cold wind blowing
from the Chesapeake,
up the Potomac,
right into my face
at Haines Point,

where the dying man sinks into the dirt,
clutching for grace.

But I got around the Point,
passed Jeffersons monument,
started across the Memorial Bridge.

I wanted to break 4 hours.

That’s all.

The real runners would be
done, showered, shaved, dressed and dined
by the time I crossed the finish line.

I didn’t care.
Just break 4 and I’d be happy.

But staggering over the Bridge,
the Iwo Jima Monument Hill looming ahead of me,
felt like the start of a 10K
instead of a mere mile or two.

The legs were splintering,
from toes to ankles, to knees, to hips.

So, maybe I could walk a bit.
I mean 4 and 1/4 would still be a
Personal Best,

so,
just slow down a little,

like,
crawl,
maybe…

There.

About 20 yards ahead of me.
A woman.
Not a runner, standing off to the side,
50, perhaps, a bit older,
dressed in slacks, black turtle neck,
long coat, red ski hat, and Brooks Chariots,
same brand as mine.
(No idea why I remember that.)

She looked worried,
staring back past me
at the stumbling packs of survivors behind me.
Searching for someone.
Her husband?
Her son?
Then a big smile came to her face.

She waved.

“Dad!
Hi Dad!!”

I turned stiffly to look back.

On he came.

Bundled in a wool cap, fleece jacket,
mittens, sweat pants draping his shoes.
Chugging along, closer and closer,
to me!

A 70 something?
80?
“Good God! Please!
Not
80!”

A quick stepping little Leprechaun,

Closer and Closer!

Up through the pains in my legs,
beating out in rapid rhythm from my heart
into my brain came the thought,

“I Hate Him!”

Then came the command:

“You are not going to let
that old Son Of A Bitch
PASS YOU!!”
I started a slow jog towards the women.

“Isn’t he wonderful?” she enthused.

I grunt.

I pick up my pace.

End of the Bridge.
Turn right.

There’s the Hill

“Maybe he’s walking with her,
just talking….

Nope! Here he comes!

Look at that damn Hill!!

Go! Go! Go!!!”
like they yell in the violence on TV.

I charge the Hill,
limping on both feet.

Up!
Up!

Stumble.

Up!

and into the almost empty
rope corridors of victory at the top!

At the top!

I am handed a shining thermal blanket.
Get a pat on the back –
from a Marine –

Medic!

I turn around to look at the clock
suspended over the finish line.
04.- .05 – .07.
minus my time to the starting line,
equals,!!!!!!!
03.- .58- .06!!!!

BROKE 4!!!!

And here comes the old caboose up the hill,
hustling to set his own PB.
His wife, son-in-law, 3 grand kids,
(great-grand-kids!!!??)
crowding the finish line now,
his daughter, walking up behind him,
all singing hallelujahs!

They’re cheering him on.

Up he comes to the line.

He gets 3 shiny thermal blankets.
Celebration!
Yelling!
Applause!

I hear myself joining the cheering throng,
clapping, whooping.

He’d done it!

I’d done it!

We all did it.

I turned to the nearest tree,
collapsed against it,
slid down,
wrapped in my tin blanket,
basking in the warming sun.

I smiled.

I loved that old man.

About Ken Greenman

Married and Happy. Retired and busy. Living in NC. 71 and counting. December 12, 2020 and it's 72! ... I would love some written comments, critiques, adulation or kind suggestions.... If you have the time and or inclination, please feel free! Not in fear but by faith. We will see. See you later! If you ever want to talk for real, email me and I will send you my cell number.... I am enjoying this!
This entry was posted in Poems. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to # 585 An old hound of heaven finishes a marathon 4-16-16 (Go to 580 for words to search)

  1. Bonnie Petroschuk says:

    This made me smile!

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