In 1977 we board the bus and head down to Ellwood City to take on the CC team. We have never ran on this course so we pay extra attention on where we need to turn, etc. It seemed common in our area that front runners from the other team get mixed up. I get it. These are rural meets and not a whole lot of extra bodies around to point the proper way. If you felt you were going to be in the mix it was best to get a handle on the last half mile. Follow the leader from the home team and turn on the burners at the end.
We were about to have a special treat this day. There had been so much rain that when you ran down by the creek you had to run across the boards laid out. They went for a long ways in places and to try and not run on them was futile. We had our little band of about a dozen runners and Ellwood appeared to have anyone in the school who wanted to run that day in uniform. I thought nothing of this. This course was 2.7 miles. You started and ran down to the bottom where the creek ran. Eventually you ran on dry terra firma for a ways, then come up out of the bottom to a paved road area. You ran on this for about a mile and finished up on the cinder track. I thought this was pretty cool.
Now the year before on our course we beat Ellwood and I grabbed my first victory ever. We ended that year 2-5. When that little starter pistol cracked I had no idea that every single kid on that team must have been directed to drop a 45 quarter and get to the boards. They were log jammin'. It was frustrating watching the top guys pull away as all these midgets slowed to a crawl. I ran the boards for about 100 yards before I went through the cold, muddy water. Somehow being duped teed me off and I set sail for the front. I caught the lead guy coming up out of the bottom, but was too waxed to do anything else when we got to the road. At this point in my running life I had zero experience on what I felt I should do. Get this...I was on my own. Pretty common in the day. My buddy always called it YOYO. Your on your own.
It came down to not losing contact. If the kid on his home course would have made any kind of move then he probably had me. I had no idea how far it was to the finish and he did. I eventually caught him with less than a half to go and wound it up. By the time I hit the track I was clear. I sprinted for the tongue depressor they had held out with the #1 written on it. I have this somewhere in a box to this day. I'd probably pick this over any other trinket ever handed to me. Unfortunately we had it handed to us that day and they got the W. We finished the year 0-11.
3/20 AM = 7.0 (9:27) roads
3/21 AM = 6.5 w/ 2.0 @ 6:27 T-mill Cleveland
3/22 AM = 14.0 (8:42) T-mill Cleveland (25mph winds outside)
3/23 AM = 5.0 (9:45) T-mill Cleveland
3/24 = OFF
3/25 AM = 10.5 (8:11) roads at Mom's in PA
3/26 AM = 11.1 (9:13) roads at Mom's in PA
Week = 54.1
3/27 = OFF (Drive PA to WI)
3/28 AM = 7.6 (8:54) w/ 1.0 in 6:16. Tim and Dewey on Bugline
3/29 PM = 10.0 (10:06) Lapham trails w/ Todd, Rick, and Jim
3/30 = OFF
3/31 AM = 3.4 (9:49) roads
4/1 AM = 14.0 w/ Southshore half marathon in 1:30:02 (6:52)
4/2 AM = 17.0 (10:33) Ice Age trail w/ Christine
Week = 52.0