Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Rosie Ruiz syndrome

Sally and I walked in the annual Salt Lake City MS Walk on Saturday, April 12. I need to come right out and say we cheated. We waited until the last walkers were heading out on the three mile course, then joined the end of the line. We walked approximately half the course and saw the walkers were going up a steep hill. We decided to stay on the level ground, so we walked along a sidewalk about a block below the street the walkers were following. We could see the hundreds of other walkers a block from us as we'd get to intersections. At last they headed down toward us, and as luck would have it we reached the intersection at the same time as the first in, so we, who had cut corners, joined the front of the line.

Remember Rosie Ruiz? Rosie came in first at the Boston Marathon in 1980. She was found to have jumped in toward the end. Like Rosie, we crossed the finish line with a couple of dozen of the fastest walkers to the cheers of the volunteers who had been staffing the event. They waved and applauded, and I waved right back. I accepted my medal as a person who completed the walk. Why not? We completed the walk; we just took a shortcut. Sally had earned close to $300 for the MS folks, so I didn't feel a bit guilty.

We got to the event early, so we could sign up before the crowds got too big. They always lots of food: bagels, muffins, doughnuts and sweet rolls. Since we got there about two hours before the walk I had one of each. And a cup of coffee. I was glad I was walking for an hour just to burn off some of the excess calories I'd ingested before the walk.

Lots of people brought their dogs, and dogs did what dogs do…they checked each other out, and they pooped. It paid to look down to avoid the doggy-doo on the street. We had to maneuver around some turds the owners couldn't take a couple of seconds to pick up.

The picture is of Sally with her niece, Kayla, at the Gateway Mall in Salt Lake City, Utah, where the event started. According to the news there were about 3000 walkers and they raised over $100,000. So that's why I didn't feel bad about cheating. I cheated for a good cause!

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