Tortoise and the Hare — age is the great equalizer

Everyone, I suspect, is familiar with the story of the tortoise and the hare. The hare was critical of the tortoise because of his slow manner. The tortoise responded by challenging the hare to a race. As such, the hare figured that it would be no contest, so along the route he stopped to take a nap several times.
You can imagine his surprise when he awoke and discovered that the slow tortoise had defeated him. Pride was the spoiler!
As a runner for the past 40 years, I used to be the hare, completing races in times to qualify for a prize in my age group. But, as the years started to take its toll on me, I became the tortoise.
Case in point was this past Sunday. I competed in the Lake Orion 5K (3.1 mile) Dragon Run. The Lake Orion the High School has a mascot that is a dragon – thus the name of the race.
The day was marvelous – no wind, no rain, atemperature of about 60 degrees – perfect running weather. In the past, I have won this race for my age group, which is 70 and over. Also in the past, there have been few people in that age group and I like to say that I have outlived my competition.
Well, that was not the case today. There were five male runners in my age group and I finished fifth – ugh! Now I have to say in my defense that I was the oldest runner in that age group and was beat by runners who were 70 to 74.
As mentioned, I have been running for over 40 years so I guess I can now place myself in the tortoise category because there are obviously some runners in that group that are hares.
On a positive note though, I received a great looking water bottle for being the oldest runner in the group of over 100 runners. So, I guess that provides some solace but I still remember those bygone days where I didn’t have to walk some of the course. My time today for the 5k was close to what I used to run the 10K (6.2 miles).
If I sound like I am whining, please cross it off to a guy who has now conceded that most of the glory days of running may have passed. But I am looking forward to turning 80 in four years and moving into another age group for runners. Surely there can’t be any runners in that age group. So there is hope!
And speaking of hope – hope everyone is planning on participating in The Orion Veteran’s Memorial Day 5K run. It is Monday, May 27.
This is a wonderful event and is fast becoming a classic. So sign up – lace up your shoes – and see you there!
Bill Kalmar
Lake Orion

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