For a brief moment on Friday morning, I was in fourth place in the Virtual 2021 Leprechaun Run. I ran my neighborhood in Northwest Reno and finished a 3.16 mile course in 36.38.
The Leprechaun Run, put on by the good folks at Race 178 for the benefit of the Terry Lee Wells Discovery Museum, was the first race to get canceled by the pandemic in 2020. I had signed up for it and was jazzed to be running a 5k again. I used to run a lot back in Connecticut, when my wife and I were newly weds and she thought it was hot that I did that. She likes that I picked it back up, though she’s skeptical of my need for so many shoes.
Well back in 2020 I let them keep the fee and ran the race on my own. I just looked at my results on my Nike Run Club account and I was about a minute quicker over the exact same distance back in 2020, though I am packing almost 20 pounds of quarantine weight these days. They were different course, too.
Now, this isn’t as good as running a live race. Being in the crowd. Seeing friends greet each other and hug and run and chat. Well, the people in better shape chat during the run, not me, but I like that they get a chance to catch up. You even get to see old friends you don’t expect to see. At one race with my son in 2019, one of my childhood friends was handing out medals to the runners at the end. I didn’t realize it at first and was blown away by it and to his shock gave him a hug before he realized who I was. He was good enough not to punch me.
I fully expect when we get back to racing live again, there will be lots of hugs like that and lots of smiles.
And even though this race was virtual, I feel a connection with my fellow runners who are running the roads of our neighborhoods and parks. And though you think only you are there to hear your shoes hit the ground as they work in rhythm with the beating of your heart, that beat and sound of hope is being carried all over the region by other feat and hearts and we are in a way together for a day.
And that makes me smile — that and being fourth for even a brief period. Good luck to the Leprechaun, I expect she’ll catch me in less than a mile or so. The Leprechaun Run features a speedy leprechaun who, in the live version starts a minute or two behind the last to get off the starting line and for each person she passes, the museum gets a few more bucks. They are letting the Leprechaun run this year at 11 a.m. on Sunday to see how many folks she can catch.
Keep running, keep writing.