There are a few running-related events of interest, to me at least, on October 14. (Not accounting for an argument in the Supreme Court in a case in which I was heavily involved.)
2007: I ran the Scarsdale Fall Foliage 5K. I went out easy but found myself in the lead for a while. That’s one of the things about local races; much depends on who shows up on a particular day. The “while,” however, did not last all the way as I was caught in the final 1/2 mile and struggled to finish in second, 17:34.
This race will be held this coming Sunday, and it’s particularly meaningful to me because it starts and finishes by where I went to Kindergarten and where I was baptized long ago and it gets only a couple of blocks from where I was brought home from the hospital, to a tiny house on Locust Avenue in Eastchester.
1979: Thirty years ago, I lived in the City and frequently ran in Central Park, which was all of fifty yards from my apartment. I was a second-year law student and ran sporadically during my first year (it was a busy time), but started up again (I didn’t run much in college) in the summer of 1979. My first race back was a 5K in Prospect Park. By October, I was running regularly. On the 14th, I headed out clockwise from my normal starting point, a cross-walk at West 85th, planning to do two laps. As I hit the top of Cat Hill on lap two, struggling mightily, I recall telling myself that I was going to finish two laps. I did, and it was the first time of many.
Shortly thereafter, I ran a 20K on the Bronx River Parkway. Essentially the same course as for the recent Westchester HM, starting at the Westchester County Center and turning at Scarsdale Road. It was pouring rain the whole way. I remember this particularly because the rain was so hard that I had to take off my glasses; they were completely fogged up otherwise. As I’ve said, I am nearly blind without glasses (contacts now) but this put me in the bizarre situation of running alone — it was not that big a field and I was on my own almost from the get-go — for over an hour, being unable to see other than a few feet ahead of me for the entire route. Don’t recall the time, though.
1972: Back in the day the Westchester County Cross-Country championships were held at Croton Point Park. It ran past a land-fill — which I guess qualifies me as a Dump Runner — but Croton Point is a penninsulla that juts into the Hudson and is quite pretty. I was a junior at Iona Prep, and one of eight guys who ran varsity. There were five guys who always ran for the big club and I was one of three guys on the bubble. (A point of reference: when I graduated, I had the no. 5 VCP time in school history (I think it was 13:40 or so for 2.5), but I was only fourth best in my class.) A couple of days before the race, Jim Greer, our coach, selected the other two, leaving me to run the Junior Varsity race. On Thursday night, though, he gave me a call and told me that I could win the race. And I did, even though teammate Lew Munday spiked me, in a JV course record that still stands (in part because they don’t race there anymore). (As an aside, Lew and I ran on our mile-relay; he gave me the baton. We were the only team I know of that used a blind stick-pass for that race but we were so used to one another that we never had a problem. We also had the school record for the event that lasted for many years, set at White Plains HS.)
As another aside, one of the juniors who was always on varsity was Mark McCabe. A couple of years back, I was running on the Nature Study trail and who called out to me but Mark McCabe, and I’ve seen him a couple of times on the trail since. Another junior always on the varsity was Jimmy Lawlor, who I mentioned in my Tuckahoe Challenge report. Then we had Sean McGillicuddy and Bob Quinn, also juniors at the time.
Oh, in 1949, before my time, Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier.