I always look forward to the Moonshine run. Historically, its my fastest 5K of the year despite the extra 0.1 they tack on to allow for high school cross country racers. Each summer I slog through the heat and humidity. Each October I race 3.2 miles, beating not only my previous 3.1 paces, but also times.
Two years ago, my grandfather took place in the 70-79 category. The first place winner was in his early 70s and a runner. Papaw was 79 at the time and never one for “fitness” activity. His farm has kept him busy his whole life – first helping his dad, then supporting his wife and daughters, then as a 2nd job when he went to work at a factory, finally as something to keep him young after retirement.
Both leading up to and following the Iron Horse Half Marathon, I was experiencing hip/low back pain. Not necessarily while I ran, but most noticeably in the time following my runs. At one point, Jay noticed me limping and told me I had to stop running temporarily, especially if I wanted to be able to participate in the Ragnar relay two weeks after the half.
Sandwiched between the two races was the On Cosby Moonshine Run. Knowing I’m too stubborn to DNS, my wise hub-sand suggested I participate as a walker instead of a runner. Last year my papaw had a nasty virus and was unable to enter the 80+ division. This year he was feeling good enough to give it a go.
My sister and nephew drove down, and we made it a family event. My dad, Jay, and the little man were our cheering section, as Papaw, Mama, Kelly & I walked the race.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit disappointed to go for a shot at 1st place in my a/g (I’ve got three 2nd place medals), but I felt honored to join my grandfather as he walked for his medal. Also at the race, one of my besties, Kristi posted an awesome time – running a 12:XX pace.
As we lined up towards the back, we met a pregnant runner – walking the event. She said with us the entire time and I think we all enjoyed chatting.
This part of Cosby is very near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and provides so much beautiful scenery. The bull dog typically on the course was absent this year, but we still saw our share of animals along the way.
We finished in just over 56 minutes, my grandfather insisting he could have gone faster. We weren’t last and spent the whole time walking at a comfortable, conversational place. After the last racers finished up it was time for awards.
I didn’t place in my age group, but I did get to walk beside my papaw. A farmer who’s never raced in his life, who humbly walked his way to a first place in the 80+ category. I cherish this photo far more than I ever could an a/g place medal and feel blessed to have had the opportunity to share this moment with my family.