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David Freeze: Gotta Run

Counting down some memories and some local happenings

Next week, I will count 40 years back to the date that I began running. My, how time flies! Here is how it happened, the day that I took my first running steps. Certainly, I had played sports and ran short sprints and a few laps with them. But my first real running steps came in 1978, the night after watching the New York City Marathon live on TV. I was amazed that anyone could run that far and, in the case of the winners, anywhere near that fast.

I’ve been known to chase a dream or two, and that Sunday was a good example. I told my wife at the time that I wanted to run a marathon. She had watched the telecast too and at that point, neither of us had ever been to New York City. But most telling to me was her laughter and statement, “There is NO way YOU could run a marathon!” To be real honest, that statement pushed me out the door that night in a pair of Converse basketball shoes to run my first mile.

Nothing about that first mile was easy and I barely had the strength to climb the steps afterwards. I ran the next day too, and most of the days since over what will soon be 40 years. 40 years! Hard to believe.

Three weeks later, I ran my first 5K in China Grove and then a few weeks later, there was an 8K in Salisbury. I finished next to last. Nobody thought much of it because there were no real expectations. But I didn’t like it.

Soon I was racing more weekends than not and doing lots of crazy things. I played in softball tournaments and went running between games. And I ran races early before going to the tournaments. My training runs started getting longer and I began dropping weight. More than once, I asked to be dropped off on the way home from somewhere, just so I could run the last five miles home.

Back in those days, it was hard to find races on most weekends. Often, I made drives of 2-3 hours to find the nearest one. Any day wasn’t a good day unless I could go running. I began to talk running to others on the way to it being one of favorite subjects. I noticed others who were runners and tried to learn from them.

My results began to improve and I moved up to the middle of the pack by midway of that first year. Better results made me try even harder. I raced the more popular 10Ks and then 10 milers and a few half marathons. In October, I ran a super-fast half marathon.

In May, I had taken a big leap and applied to get an application for entry into the upcoming NYC Marathon. You actually had to apply to request an application. At the time, about half of those that applied received an application and were granted entry.

And exactly one year after watching my first ever road race on TV, I ran the next NYC Marathon. Plus, I enjoyed having the earlier less than supportive wife there to help me experience it.

The 2018 NYC Marathon is Sunday morning, November 4th on ESPN 2. Registration is closed with nearly 100,000 applicants. Look for about 55,000 to compete. Two of those first time NYC marathoners will be Stephen Bullock and Andy Abramson, both of Salisbury. If anyone else locally is running,  let me know at David.freeze@ctc.net

On Thursday morning, November 1st, Rowan’s first ever race for older adults, 60 and over, will be held at Oak Park Retirement. The One Day at a Time age divisions include 60-69, 70-79, 80-89 and 90 and over. It’s a run/walk on a measured one mile course, with shirts to early registrants and awards in several divisions including wheelchair. Look for participation from the YMCA’s, Rufty Holmes and several churches. A free lunch to every participant. In fact, everything’s free! Call Oak Park at 704-859-5379.

It’s not too late to do this afternoon’s Rotary Spooky Sprint 5K at Catawba College. The 5K begins at 2pm. Next Saturday, November 3rd, the Harvesting Hope 5K at Patterson Farm benefits Novant Health Hospice.

Look for details on all of these events at www.salisburyrowanrunners.org

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