Cut Off: Tales from the Back of the Pack.

Of course I’m going to keep going.  I mean, I made the cutoff by three whole minutes, I signed up for the whole race and, darn it, I’m doing it!

Awesome! Fifteen minutes ahead of the cutoff.  Now I can relax a little.  Yes, thank you, volunteer, I am fully aware I’m in last place.  But I am still running.

Why are they cheering? I missed the cutoff and they’re cheering.  Maybe they’re trying to make me feel better.  It’s okay, though.  I have another race next weekend.

You’re letting me continue?  Um, okay.  Thanks.  I mean it’s kind of pointless: I’m going to have to run eight minute miles to make the next cutoff, and that doesn’t happen on a good day. But I’ll take the miles–what the heck. It’s what I came out here to do.

Hi, aid station guy.  You wouldn’t believe how hard I pushed  on that last segment. Behind the cutoff, but I’m good. I ran my best, and honestly, I am tired.

What do you mean, what can you get me? A ride back to the start?  What do you mean, I can keep going? I missed the cutoff by fifteen whole minutes! You can’t just let me go.  There are rules!  You’re supposed to make me stop.  You’re the meanest aid station person ever.

What’s the next cutoff?  I could make that if I weren’t already past the point of human endurance.  I’m dead, done, beat, and I want my daddy. And my bed. A glass of wine would be nice. Or two.

Is that the next aid station or just a mirage?  You want to know how I’m doing? Great, just freaking great.  No, wait, I was being sarcastic.  Don’t make me keep going.  Please make me stop.

Another aid station, but I’m not even hoping for mercy.  Wait, what? I made the cutoff for this station? Really?  You mean I just might finish?  Ohmigosh! Thank you! Thank you for being out here. Thank you for cheering me on. Thank you for being the greatest aid station volunteer ever.

The finish line.  I did it.  I finished.  I’m done. That is the most beautiful finisher’s medal I’ve ever held.  I’m speechless. I’m humbled.  I did it.

No, actually.  We did it. Thank you, aid station volunteers. All of you.

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