Time to pass the torch…

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My daughter, Shannan, and I completed the Jacksonville, Florida Gate River Run today. It’s a 15k, 9.3 mile course that has a hill, two bridges, at the beginning and near the end. After 8 miles it’s basically all down hill into the coliseum.


Today was a new experience for me jogging in the “turtle pack.” No offense guys, knowing many of the 10 minutes per mile plus runners are giving it their all and many are newbies like my daughter. The objective for a first race is always just to finish the race. I took great pride in my daughter jogging the whole way, stopping only for water breaks. So many people cut corners or walked the last mile. Some were injured, dehydrated, or just had a ‘blowout’ from running out to fast at the start—I take my hat off to you as you did the best you could. But I know many simply cheated themselves of a best effort. I ask how can you honestly accept that finisher’s medal and look yourself in the mirror and be proud of yourself?!

For me this was a semi-dangerous run having still some remnants of the flu running through my veins. I felt very weak and sensed a hint of pneumonia. Oh. I hope I didn’t have pnuemonia. I expended every effort to prep myself for this race to run with my daughter– Golden Seal, Cayenne Pepper and Apple Cider Vinegar drinks, eating raw garlic, staying away from meat– in fact, I went vegetarian, but that’s another story.

Anyway my daughter totally surprised. She blew out on a 4 miler just a few days before race day complaining of cramps. I wondered if I over trained her by having her do 2 miles of fartleck at a bridge and then jogging another 4 miles—all this a week before the race. But we stuck to our game plan—nice easy pace without letting yourself get excited by the racing atmosphere.

Oh what an atmosphere (okay, I’m going to use an antiquated word here, watch out)full of such gaiety, nice circa 72° weather, racers hooting, singing, and hollering the whole way, live bands pumping out rhythmic beats, and even livelier spectators who were very interactive with us racers. One boy gave my daughter a necklace, another woman have her a a very enthusiastic high 5. There were people running in Superman, Wonder Woman, and Flash costumes. I saw one guy dressed up like a carrot, a fireman with real water tank on his back, a soldier wearing a fully packed backpack. Believe they real know how to throw a party. One spectator group had bear and bacon handouts, really.

Anyway, I looked at my daughter Shannan near the top of that last bridge. She asked me how people could give up and walk so close to the finish line. I looked at her face and she had the look of pure determination. Nothing more needed be said. The last few yards of the race she let loose a burst a speed that caught me totally by surprise. It was time to pass the torch. 


By Lewis Jackson


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