So - you ran the Falmouth Road Race and you think you're pretty special?
There are many unsung heros of this race. People who are in fact mentioned (a lot) as being unsung heros, by people who don't understand the concept of an unsung hero. You've got your medical tent volunteers, the people who hand out water and set up prior to the race early Sunday morning or man the number pick up table days before the actual race. How about the people who repaint the numbers on the road a week prior to the race and always get their photo in the paper doing it? How unsung isn't that?
You want to know who the real unsung hero of the FRR is? It's me.
That's right. Me.
Not people like me - people who get their kids down to their designated race viewing spot before any of the runners have gone by and plant themselves there until the fat lady sings, or in the case of a road race, the police cruiser goes by to signal the unofficial end of the race - but me.
Not only do I drag my kids down to the race so they can see their dad go by even though he doesn't always see us because he's in that phantom running zone when he goes by our spot, but this year I purchased special noisemakers instead of just raiding our musical instruments bin as in past years. This allowed us not only to make more noise ourselves (it's the one day out of 365 when I encourage my children to make as much noise as possible and even join in the fray) but to include other noiseless onlookers in the festivities. In this way we single-handedly spurred on 12,000+ runners.
And for the record, I've run the FRR, and standing on the side of the road ringing a cowbell and yelling through the entire race is much harder.
I love that the runners now sport their names on their bibs. It makes my job so much easier and more personal.
"Way to go William!"
"Great job Matthew!"
"Lookin' good Susan!"
"You, yes you! I'm talking to you!"
And did I mention the cowbell?
What runner doesn't appreciate a good cowbell?
We got lots of chants of "more cowbell!" by runners applauding our efforts.
That's what I like to see. You're out there plodding over a seven-mile course amid heat and humidity and YOU are cheering for us.
But on the other hand. Why shouldn't you?
Hell, I ended up with a good-sized scrape (blood!) on the knuckle of my middle finger due to prolonged cowbelling. Where's my medical tent?
You, you put your mind to it and you could be done in an hour and down on the ballfield pigging out on snacks. "It's like a supermarket," reported C.
Where's my finish-line smorgasbord?
Not to mention all the preface actives like watching the elite mile and participating in the Falmouth Walk, three miles in the rain on Saturday. Was it raining during Sunday's race? I think not.
But back to the race.
The waiting - as Tom Petty said - really is the hardest part.
We waited and we waited. At least you get to run.
We just stand around waiting. And if we turn away for a split second - WHAM - we miss you! So we never turn away. We wait and while we wait we cheer on the rising sea of runners until the tsunami has quelled to a mere ripple of stragglers. And still we wait to see everyone that we're expecting to see. And even after we see them we can't leave. Because those folks at the end, who are walking, they need cowbell love even more than the middle of the packers.
Plus I feel guilty packing up in front of them.
"Yes we're leaving. So long suckers. You've got two more miles to go!"
And I even had enough energy left over for the post race party at 43 Sippewissett Road.
And that's why I am the unsung hero of the 2012 FRR.
See you next year.
song: Born to Run • artist: Bruce Springsteen