Sunday, May 06, 2007

Joe's column

Runners come in all forms, as seen Saturday
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — My ego wasn’t deflated by losing to my little brother. Jack “B. Nimble” Parrino finished Nashville’s Country Music Half-Marathon in 1 hour, 45 minutes and 28 seconds. I came across the line at 1:55:14. Jack walked part of his race. Big brother was running the whole time. But defeat in sibling rivalry is easily dealt with.
“I can still bench more than you, punk.” A change of subject and I’m good again. What really knocked my wind out was the stampede of runners who bounded past me on the 13.1-mile course.
First, there was the elderly gentleman:
“Scuse me, fella, comin through.”
Then the guy on his cell phone:
“Hold on a sec, honey, I’ve got to get past this dead spot here.”
The teenager in braces:
“Like OK, Mr. So-and-So. This is like the fast lane.”
The woman old enough to be my mother:
“You need to change your underwear, don’t you?”
One dude dug my sense of fashion:
“Hey bro, love the T-shirt. How do you like mine?”
I looked down at the number 2659 pinned to my T-shirt.
It should have been 2,867 for all the runners who finished ahead of me. So many people passed me along the way I began to make a study of them. Footracers come in an amazing range of body types. Sure, there were plenty of prototypes with gangly limbs and bony cheeks. But there was also the jiggly-thighed, multi-chinned anti-type.
One runner was so pudgy that I momentarily believed the course had taken a detour through funhouse mirrors. That butterball passed me too.
I didn’t see any sumo wrestlers but they might have caught me too if the race was 15 miles.
Two brutes with linebackers’ shoulders nearly sandwiched me on their way by. Their hurry was understandable given the curvaceous brunettes who jogged past a minute earlier.
Some bodies were hard to make out because of a costume. One girl ran the entire 13.1 miles dressed like a giant pita chip. A valiant effort saved me from losing to her.
There is one other runner I remember passing. At 8 miles, I spotted a towering figure lumbering slowly down the middle of the street.
As I pulled up alongside and glanced up at him, I realized I was shoulder to Shoulder with football great Eddie George.
Eddie, the former Ohio State University and Tennessee Titans running back, tuned me out until I shouted “Go Buckeyes.”
He flashed a quick smile and turned his attention back to the road. I smiled too and trotted ahead, resisting the urge to strike a Heisman pose.

JOE PARRINO is a staff writer for the Kentucky New Era. He can be reached by telephone at 887-3239 or by e-mail at


Rachel said...

LOVED the article, Joe!
As a runner, I can definitely relate!

Thanks for posting it, Emily!

John said...