I accept full responsibility for local blogging legend DC Rainmaker winning a three decade old race outright at the end of his 2008 training season.
Anyone who reads this blog knows that I always run the free, monthly noontime Tidal Basin 3K which is held on the third Wednesday of every month. The race dates back to the early 70s so it’s venerable. I think it’s older than Rainmaker.
All the old reliables showed up today. A former winner of the MCM was there. I was there. My doppelganger Peter was there. My agency’s rock star, G, was there. And Rainmaker showed up and came over and introduced himself to me.
He had been saying that he was going to run this fast and furious 1.8 mile sprint around the body of water that fronts both the Jefferson and FDR Memorials. I emailed him last night and told him to put up or shut up. Oh, he came alright!
I follow his outstanding blog, overlooking the fact that a lot of it is about biking because he runs really well. I knew that he was coming off a 37:21 (6:01) 10K at which he PRed on Sunday, and I figured that he might be in peak form.
I carefully described the course to him so he wouldn’t get lost. It’s pretty simple actually, get on the sidewalk by the road, always keep the road to your left and the water to your right and stop when you pass the clock back by the start line. It’s a big circle.
This month’s race was in memory of long-time local runner Ray Blue, an octogenarian who passed on recently. Another World War II vet gone. Everyone was wearing blue. After a few nice words in his honor, off we started. Rainmaker had asked me who the fast runners were but how did I know? After the first few seconds of any race, I never see them again. I had referred him to G the rock star, who usually comes in between fourth and eighth. Ten seconds after the start, Rainmaker was gone, along with G and many others. They were all way up there, receding rapidly.
I ran my typical race, good for a finish in the bottom quartile. I passed Peter early, as usual, but then surprisingly, he passed me back soon afterwards. I hung on him for awhile, then passed him back on the narrow bridge part, glancing him with an elbow as I went by. "Oh ho!" he cried, and the battle was joined. (We’re good friends.)
I ran the rest of the race wondering where Peter was behind me, dreading his famous finishing kick. But he didn’t have it today and I came in just ahead at 13:13 (7:06). I stood by the finish line with my hands on my knees and my head down, chest heaving. You’d have thought that I had just run a long ways really fast or something.
Rainmaker came up to me, completely relaxed and composed, and congratulated me on my finish. Umm, my finish way back in the pack.
I thanked him and asked him how he did. "About 10:30," he said.
"No," I said, "how’d you do?"
"Uh, I won?"
Yep, thanks to my good directions, Rainmaker had been able to bolt away from the lead pack just past the midway point and bring it home alone without going off course. Because after all, it’s pretty tricky to follow an unending sidewalk. He won the race. I suppose he’ll retire from 3K competition now as one and done, been there, won that.
G came in seventh in 11:10. Congrats to him, and also to a local biking and blogging phenom.