The Beth Walton Memorial Run (A day in review)

Well the Beth Walton Memorial Run has officially taken place! It was a great day out on the Sligo Creek trails! It started as a very early day for me at 6:45 a.m. on a Sunday morning, but I forced myself up since the race was for such a good cause. It was a very good turnout with about 200 people signed up for the days events. When I first arrived I saw many familiar faces of friends and family who were all there to remember a dear friend. It was also a very hot morning with dense humidity you could almost see; so I knew that the race was going to be a tough one.

Before the race started a few announcements were made regarding the track and some safety concerns. There was also a participant there Sunday morning who was a survivor of ovarian cancer. It was a very fitting touch to an emotional day; along with the happy news that Beth's oldest daughter had just delivered a new baby! So to say the least everyone was fired up for the race to begin!

"Walkers begin! Five minute mile people in the front and twelve minute people in the back!" So I naturally made may to front knowing full well that I was nowhere near a five minute pace, but I had to try and intimidate people! Then the whistle blew, the race started, and twenty eight minutes of misery began! Now I know you are thinking, "twenty eight minutes that's not that good." Well I have to tell you that I ran in one of the hottest most humid sporting events of my life Sunday morning. So to say the least twenty eight minutes was not so bad.

Despite my intimidation tactics I had a full plan with paced mile times I wanted to hit. My younger brother on the other hand started off like a bat out of hell with no plan in sight! Now my natural instincts kicked in because I can't let my little brother beat me in a race! This turned out to be a disastrous decision for me. I almost immediately started to feel a monster cramp coming so I decided to let up. This was a smart decision. So now, I thought to myself, I only have to make more smart decisions in the race then stupid ones. 

So the race continued on through the winding park trail, and there was what felt like a thick blanket of humidity sticking to me.  It felt as if a sauna had descended onto the race trail. There was then an incredible moment in the race when I had just reached the two mile marker; I saw the first place person passing me. Not a minute after this sight I saw my little brother up head holding his side in pain and walking! I thanked God at that moment because I had decided to follow my plan instead of my emotions. The tortoise had outsmarted the hair!

I eventually passed my brother and that was the last I saw of him until the very end of the race. Victory number one! Now down to business. So I really started to feel the pain and I knew it was going to be very tough the rest of the way. I decided to slow my pace a little so that I could have some reserve energy for the last part of the race.

As the race continued it felt as if the humidity was rising and the course was getting longer with every step I took. Usually when I run in a race I have a rule no matter what I never stop and walk at all. I have to run every single step of the way. Maybe it is not the brightest rule there ever was, but I never claimed to be a genius! So yes I finished the race without stopping! Victory number two!

Now onto the last stage of the race. After I completed the second mile I really started to feel the pain in my legs and the heat building in my body. This was not a good sign considering during my one day of training I did not have this feeling. Now I really started to feel myself start to drag especially on a few of the smaller hills we had to cross. Each step grew harder then the next, and every breath brought a small growing pain in my side! My legs were giving out, my side was starting to cramp, and my strategic pacing was thrown out the window.

Was it time to hit the panic button? Not yet, I knew in my years of athletic experiences that I had hit the proverbial wall. This is the time when you need to fight through the pain and exhaustion, and push a little harder. I made it out! Victory number two point one!

I was now in the home stretch and off in the distance I could here the cheers of people around the bend! I made it mentally, and now I had the finish line in sight! Up in the distance I saw a familiar figure cheering people on. It was my mom; who was dear friends with Mrs. Walton, yelling go Robby! Even at twenty five my mom still cheers me like I am going to win the race (I didn't by the way). One more bridge to go! Now I saw my dad cheering me on, and I can actually see the finish line! There were my sisters cheering me on! Only a few more steps, and I made it! Victory number three!

I nearly collapsed from the heat and pain I felt, but I was able to compose myself and submit the racing paper that tears off. Now remember my little brother a while back? Well about a minute or so after I crossed the line; I saw a limping figure in the distance holding his side looking in extreme agony. To say the least his plan failed. He looked as if he took a meat clever to his side and his hamstring had been ripped off. As he crossed the finish line he took an Oscar worthy flop on the ground back first! I am glad to spread the good news that he his ok and alive and well!

So in the end the day went very well, everyone enjoyed themselves, and I had a little surprise in store for me a moment later! My cousin Kelly won overall for the girls, my cousins cousin Casey came in third over all for her age division, my overly dramatic brother actually won first place in his age group, and yours truly came in third overall for my age group!  Surprise victory!

I wanted to close with even though today was a competition winning or losing doesn't mean anything. All the friends, family, supporters, and one goofy brother were all there to remember a lost friend, and support a very important cause. Now remember "Cancer is real, run for the teal!" - Beth Walton

- Robby Silk