Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Finish Line

The proverbial finish line.  It can represent many things in running, and many things in life.  The finish line can symbolize completion.  It can pertain to a goal attained.  It can mean a time of rest and restoration.  It can spell victory for the first, and victory for the last.  It can even be simply the end of something very long and difficult.

For me today, the finish line means ... a horde of sweaty insane runners who had the audacity to run a 5K or a 10K on New Year's Day, the day after New Year's Eve.  Some of those mental people felt nauseated at the starting line, and relieved themselves at the finish line.  We were there to witness the finish line of the Resolution Run ... note that we didn't run at the Resolution Run.  We just got to help out a bit.

Pulling tags off of competitor's bibs and keeping them in order for the timers is a pressurized job.  Here are the lessons learned from this noble task:

1. It is best if runners take a moment to tear their own tag and hand it to the finish line tag puller people.  Know why?  Because runners put their race bibs on, hmmmm.... certain body parts, and well .... it's best if they tear it off instead of me.

2. Some people don't follow the simplest of instructions.  Did you know that there is this printed instruction on all race bibs:  Do not pin.  Yes.  This is the instruction printed on the perforated flap that gets torn off at the finish line.  Guess what happens when that instruction is not followed.  Now we've got an issue, not only with the body part, but with the complicated task of removing a safety pin or two.

3. Some people do pre-tear off their race bib tag ... and throw it away before the race starts.  Some tear it off before the race and throw it in their car ... and then retrieve it from the car and hand it to the finish line tag tearing people a half an hour after they finished.

4. People look really thrashed in the finish chute on New Year's Day.

Ultimately it was fun at the finish line and it was a blessing to help out.  Runners are among the greatest of all people and we watched many strong people fight to get to that line ... the line that means they can stop fighting now.  It was a privilege to tear off your race bib tag.

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