If You Cannot Win, Lose with Flare

Our new crew member, Megan, and i heard some loud party music from a corner of the marina compound. Upon investigating we found the sing up area for a large community run, The Run for Charity, a mini marathon. We agreed it sounded like fun and plunked down the entry fee, ready for the six am start.

We awoke to a crash of lightning and pouring rain about five am. When we got to the entry area it was packed with runners, all looking like they were fast, real fast. Usually these runs attract fast runners and some slower less dedicated walkers and runners, the latter group were detracted by the rain and slept in.

I told Megan, 21 years old and clearly fit, to run her own race, i would stay to my pace and it would take me nearly two hours to do the 11.5k run. We moved to the starting line, the gun goes off and away we went. Soon the pact left me as i plunked one foot after another on the wet asphalt. By the 4k mark i was all alone, not a runner in sight as i passed by one check point after another. the course took us through some stunning country side, rubber tree plantations, palm tree groves, open grass land and even a corn field.

When i hit the 6k half way point i picked up an escort, an ambulance assigned to the run, lights flashing. They even played music for me. The ambulance and I sauntered through the back roads together, the waypoint/water stops girls became familiar, as they were now leap frogging ahead of me. The locals lined the streets cheering me one, go Papa. i was having a blast.

One of the significant differences in Asian and Western cultures, one that so adds to the attraction for me, is the respect and honor Asians have for older people. At home i would have been offended at being called Papa or pops, and it would usually have not been said in reverence, here it is, Papa is a term of endearment. So the people lining the path all cheering me on saying, go Papa brought a smile to my face.

As the need for any escort ended ahead of my, my entourage increased. For the last 4k i had an aid car in front and my trusty ambulance ahead of me and a few official motorbikes too, wow was i special. i crossed the finish line and was rushed to the awards podium. i had finished 9th in my age group and got a trophy!