Another year has come and gone, and we all survived.
Don MacNeil didn't lose a hat, and have to use his shirt as toilet paper, running into the woods to have a shit this year, so that's a good thing.
At the finish line on Sunday I saw a runner (a pretty fast one at that) sitting on the curb, and his thighs were bleeding pretty badly from chafing. My guess is, he wore new shorts, for the first time, and didn't realize you never wear anything new, for the first time, during a race. That's what training is all about! Let that be a lesson to the new runners.
The new people on the team this year fit right in. Thank you for making my job easier. New to our team this year were; Susan, Krista, Renee, Catherine, Preston, Ross, and Andrew. I can't remember ever adding seven new runners to our team. A special thank you goes out to Catherine for her attitude and effort. It was much appreciated.
Martha (Mom) and Donna (Sis) outdone themselves this year. The food they had prepared for us on Friday night was a very pleasant surprise. Having the finish line crew drop in was really special for Mom, because she knows some of them from other years. Mark Stein has now moved ahead of Jerome Bruhm in the "Martha's affections" contest.
Our benefactor, Perry (Fast Eddy with a Y) Abriel, made a donation to help offset some beverage, and food expenses we incurred on the weekend. Perry also gets our nod for the best line of the weekend. His comment came from the frustration of always saying the sign up for the next leg is at the front of the van. At the end of Leg 7, he had enough. He said on the loudspeaker, "the sign up for the next leg is in Sydney. It seems you don't pay attention to me when I say it's at the front of the van, so we're having the next leg sign up in Sydney."
The race organizers told me they would send me the small shirts when they arrived in June. I'll let you know (Catherine, Renee, Krista) when they come to me.
In the final results for leg 10 they have Catherine Howley down as Darcy Stevens, who ever in the hell she is. I'll send a note to Jeff to see if he can change it. Don't hold your breath.
I've attached a team picture, and I'll ask Bruce if he can put up the rest of our pictures on the Gonzo Home page. Stay tuned. The people in the picture are: Front Row (Left to right) The Lovely Ann MacDonald, Krista Bishop, Susan Conrod, Bruce Duffy (retired Barbarian), Renee MacDonald, Catherine Howley. Middle Row : Gary Dunbrack, Perry Abriel (retire Barbarian and our benefactor), Nick Slaunwhite, Andrew Currie, Bruce Murphy, Don MacNeil. Back Row: Robert Proctor, Ross Tulloch, Greg MacDonald (Fearless Leader), Preston Smith. Missing from the picture to be inserted later - Richard Jordan
As usual, I'll give a review by each leg.
Leg 1 - Considering all my runs this year were slower than last year, and I'm heavier this year than last, I can't explain why I ran 2.5 minutes faster this year. Hopefully, I can do it again, run that is, next year. I felt fantastic the last 10 K. I wish all my runs feel as good as Saturday's.
Leg 2 - After 16 years of running this race, and 27.5 years of chasing after me, The Lovely Ann still has what it takes. She pulled a calf muscle two weeks ago and had to visit a masseuse, to get herself race ready. She's just plain tough...and beautiful. I did say beautiful didn't I?
Leg 3 - Andrew (who couldn't find the starting line for Rum Runners last year) Currie sure found the way to run this leg. He was the fastest on the team, averaging 6:59 per mile or 4:21 per K. He also had the highest placing of any male Replica, finishing in 16th place for his leg. This was Andrew's first race, and now I know why he runs like a sprinter...he is a sprinter. Next year, if he wants to run two legs, I'll consider it. Congratulations!
Leg 4 - If the MacNeil Movement were set to music, what kind of music would you hear? Don't answer that, because Don and intestines go hand in hand, so to speak. When I asked Don to do Smokey this year, I knew I didn't have to worry about the leg anymore. Don is a seasoned veteran, and I knew he would run his usual comfortable race. Plus, I thought he'd go crazy trying to find a place to crap, while he was running up the mountain. I mean there's exposure and then there's exposure. Click off another one my friend. A true competitor.
Leg 5 - Richard Jordan has run this race 12 times. Other than Ann, and yours truly's 16, no one has more team seniority than Richard. This year he did it the hard way. Driving down from Halifax, running his leg, and then driving back. It's just too dangerous, because he isn't getting any younger. He said next year he might stay with us for the weekend. We'll see. Richard, in his youth, actually won a leg for us. Time, good living, and family responsibilities might have slowed him down a little, but he still has the heart of a lion. King Richard the Lion Headed!!
Leg 6 - Bruce Murphy has had more health problems since January, than the Iraq army had reasons for not winning the war. To demonstrate this, his time for this year was more than a minute and a half slower per mile (that's right per mile) than his usual time for Leg 6. Not to worry, he still finished his leg and then went back to work with the finish line crew. What a trooper. Bruce penciled himself in for Leg 9, and no he didn't intend to do it. I missed traveling with Bruce this year, because we really enjoy the "showers" at the end of leg 6. "wink wink, nudge, nudge."
Leg 7 - In the past year Gary Dunbrack has fallen off a roof, and still managed to run faster than most of the people in his leg. His beautiful wife Mary was his pit crew for the weekend. Thank God for that. He left clothing behind everywhere he went on the weekend. Mary doesn't have four kids, she has five. He still can make a beer disappear almost as fast as I can.
Leg 8 - Nick Slaunwhite will probably join us at the Duck Cove Inn next year. After running the "girlie" leg, he must be really tired and probably needs his beauty sleep. The Finish line crew managed to survive while Nick ran with the ladies. How they survived, we'll never know. Nick is also an "old timer" when it comes to the Race.
Leg 9 - No runners. Bruce Murphy had his name down as a starter. Thanks Bruce.
Leg 10 - She might be tiny, but she's tiny like a cheetah. Catherine Howley had the best finish for a woman on our team. She was the fourth woman to cross the finish line running up MacKenzie Mountain. I'll have to admit, I'm a bit partial to red heads for some reason. I wonder why? Great things come in small packages. I think she must have had a strong gust of wind blow her up the mountain.
Leg 11 - Catherine's sister Renee MacDonald proved she's no flash in the pan either. Both these ladies are from Little Bras D'Or, and must have pissed the guys off, because they couldn't be caught. They were too fast. (so to speak) Renee had the fastest time for a woman 7:32 per mile (4:42 per K) on the team. Renee was the 7th fastest woman on her leg. Incidentally their Mom showed up for the banquet and I never got a chance to ask her why they're both such gifted runners. Maybe next year I'll find out.
Leg 12 - Race rookie Susan Conrod was in the zone for the race. She was excited, and scared, an ideal combination. But bad luck was sitting on her shoulder and Susan rolled her ankle on the side of the road, and got to spend some time in the ambulance. This is not the first time this has happened to someone on our team. Susan felt terrible about her bad luck, but like the Red Sox fans say, "there's always next year." Her foot will be fine in a day or so, and she doesn't need crutches. She also picked up the nickname "niblet" for some reason. You'll have to ask her the origin of the name, I'm too shy to reveal it.
Leg 13 - Another race rookie, Krista Bishop, got her first year under her belt. I think this was the first time Krista ever ran more than 6 K in a race. Krista didn't do any silly stuff and stuck to the basics, and completed her leg in a positive frame of mind. Krista was signed up last year but backed out when Susan got injured in training. Hopefully Krista met, and enjoyed enough of the team members, so she feels comfortable with people other than Don and his singing body parts.
Leg 14 - Another fireball in the form of Preston Smith was a "newbie" to our team. Being from Moncton, we had to talk v e r y s l o w l y to the good doctor. I didn't see him run but looking at the results, he's fast. Nothing slow about this guy! Preston was on observation patrol this past weekend, and I'm sure he got a small taste of the culture and the local colour.
Leg 15 - Ross Tulloch was the last addition to the team, and by far not the least. Preston had run the race four times in previous years. As a team captain, you're always concerned a new recruit can cut the mustard. Heck, Ross can cut it, chop it, toast it, and eat it. Another professional who does his leg, no complaints, no discussions. Just a marvel to have on the team. Ross's wife joined us on Saturday to check out the race, before they both went back to his in-laws in Sydney for their little guy. They were going back to Halifax after the race.
Leg 16 - Robert Proctor didn't run for three weeks before his leg on Sunday morning. His doctor said no downhill running, so you can't get a flatter leg than 16. Robert had consumed some pizza with hot peppers on them Saturday night, and they did come back to haunt him on Sunday morning during the race. Everything worked out well, and there was little harm done. Don MacNeil wasn't called in to supervise, so what can I say.
Leg 17 - I asked Hal Montgomery to run "The Glory Leg" this year. It seemed quite fitting to me that a guy from Baddeck should finish, what a guy (me) from Baddeck started. (Leg 1) The folly of youth can overcome many obstacles. Hal said his feet went to sleep until he came off the mountain. If you saw his running shoes, you'd understand why they went to sleep. Hal had the second fastest average per mile pace on the team. (7:15 per Mile - 4:31 per K) Hal also presented me with a beautiful picture/poster for out team this year. I guess he had it all set up and his sister took the digital team picture at the finish line, and presented it to us after we stopped at their house on the way back to Halifax. A very classy, creative surprise, if I do say so myself.
Thanks again everyone. I'll be sending out my call for 2004 in a few months. If anyone has any questions give me a call. This current email address might not be valid for very much longer so remember my home email is: firstname.lastname@example.org