Two of my passions, writing and running, usually occupy very separate aspects of my life, but they came together last Sunday in the Dipsea race, a 7+ mile cross-country run over treacherous, steep, scenic trails. It’s handicapped, with the oldest, slowest runners getting a head start--and since I am 78 and slow, off I go in the first group.
The faster runners who start after me catch up and pass, squeezing by on the narrow paths. Since I’ve been running this race since 1979 and have been part of the running community here forever, many friends and acquaintances run by. “Hi, Eve!” they say, and zoom off. But this year, a few of them said, “Eve, hi, I am reading your book and loving it.” So for once I felt like an author who runs or maybe a runner who writes. Whatever, it was fun.
Another unusual aspect of the Dipsea is this: at a few places along the way, you come to a split in the route—you can choose a steep, tricky descent or you can go a slower, easier and longer way. I had a head-to-head duel with a fellow runner, who is my age and an old friend. A sure-footed downhill runner, he took the short cuts while I, who have become cautious in my old age, went the longer, safer way. So he got ahead of me after each short cut, and then I overtook him—this happened three times, until we both reached the last quarter mile together. I thought about offering to finish in a tie, hand in hand—but I couldn’t stifle my competitive self. So I put in a surge and beat him.
P.S. My friend Barbara Robben ran—at 80, she is the oldest woman ever to finish the race. (I’m second oldest. )