I have lived and worked around these parts for 27 years now and have yet to run the Crim ten-mile road race, through no fault of my own.
The first year, I was all trained up and ready to go when, WHAM! I came down with a bout of I Can’t Get Up That Early-itis.
I’ve suffered from it my whole life. There is no cure.
The next year, I was again all set to get out there in the August heat and humidity and slog ten miles up and down hills over hot asphalt along with thousands of other flop-sweaters while strangers slosh water in my face.
Then, the morning of the race, I was stricken by some kind of virus and couldn’t run. I looked up my symptoms in a home-diagnosis guide, and it said I had a case of sudden-onset Do you know how far ten miles is, fool?
I’d never heard of that particular malady before, but who am I to argue with a book?
Seriously, you wouldn’t believe the lousy luck I’ve had over the years – always on race day.
One year, I got a cramp in my eyeball. Couldn’t run. I kept pulling left.
The next year, it was the heartbreak of psoriasis. More mature readers will remember the old commercial about that debilitating condition.
The year after that, it was a shin-splint in my spleen.
Then, there was the time I pulled my gluteus maximus muscles – both cheeks – while stretching, and as one knows, one cannot possibly run with balky butt muscles without risking lasting damage to one’s trilateral hoobastank ligaments. Darn the luck.
And who could forget the massive ice cream headache of 1997? That one was definitely my fault. I knew I shouldn’t have stopped for a jumbo Slurpee on the way to the race, but I couldn’t help myself. They had Cherry Coke flavor that day and I love Cherry Coke.
Riley McLincha, the guy who dribbles three basketballs the entire length of the Crim race every year, tells me each summer that my injuries and afflictions seem highly suspicious. He suspects I’m really not that interested in running at all.
But nothing could be farther from the truth.
The Crim Festival of Races is the crown jewel event of our community. It fills our Downtown with happy, albeit sweaty people. It promotes and ennobles the active lifestyle in a city and state that need all the pushes toward fitness they can get. It trains adults, teaches children, celebrates and supports athletes with disabilities, bolsters the economy. In all ways, it’s a force for good.
And, particularly this year – when the entire world has viewed us with pitying eyes – the Crim Festival of Races is a great, big, can’t miss, don’t-you-forget-it reminder to everyone that good things – powerful things, happy things, dare I say cool things – do in fact happen here in Flint, Michigan, and always have.
So, of course I want to run. In fact, I plan to do so this year. I’m primed and ready. Those Kenyans better hope my eye cramp flares up again.