Staff writer shares first person view of Grant Wheeler 5k

By: Alyssa Dekutoski

Today was the day.

I woke up in the morning at my friend Emily Wikner’s house to the sound of a door closing. She had just taken her dog out. I got up and waited for her to come back in so we could eat a pre-race breakfast of bagels with peanut butter.

After the delicious meal, I changed into a sweatshirt and race leggings with my hair braided in a ponytail thanks to my friend Emily and her amazing hair skills. We left the house afterwards and rode to Orchard Hill church for the Faith 5.

When we arrived, we picked up our shirts and tags. I saw many familiar faces at the church, many belonging to the cross country team I am part of. Emily and I, along with a few friends, started to warm up outside until the church called us to the gym for a prayer before we began our run, following a speech about Grant Wheeler.

Finally, we began to walk to the starting line after I changed my shirt to the one we got at the sign up table because you should not run with a sweatshirt or you will “die” from overheating. That I had to learn from my mother.

We all began to line up, not in a line but a cluster, our hearts ready to run.The starter held up the gun. Silence ensued. BAM! the gun sounded and most of us took off like wild animals running from a predator after the rest had fallen behind.

I immediately felt the effects of running. My breath was harsh. I felt sore. I had begun to fall behind, but I kept going harder. In time, I began to gain some ground again. Since the varsity was here, they had to slow down. The non-varsity girls and I had a chance for the most part — until they passed us at the two mile mark. Man, were they fast.

The trail had changed to forest, the pavement covered in wet leaves after rainy weather, leaving us to fight to not slip and fall. We kept at that for a half mile until it changed to hill. I began to push up the hill, trying to catch the tired runners ready to give out, but still trying to stay ahead of the other runners not giving up on the fight.

For the last one and a half miles, it was straight until we reached the turning point to the end. Another hill, another day. I began to pump my arms and legs up the hill, catching a glimpse of my mother and Mrs. Swanson cheering me and Emily on.

When we reached the top, there, finally, was the finish line 20 yards ahead on flat ground. I broke into a chase, trying to catch the boy who stayed ahead of me, but I didn’t catch them. My throat was burning, my body was sore all over, but finally, with a gasp, of air I made it.

Other people were already there congratulating the other runners and giving them water to quench their thirsts. I joined in. Runners began pouring in after that, panting from their hard race and feeling proud of themselves.

And they should be. Everyone did wonderful. When everyone got back, we had Panera bagels and other stuff while taking pictures until we were called to awards. They handed out three awards to each age group, some belonging to some amazing fellow cross country runners and to other amazing people too.

After that we got in to chant, and finally it was time to go home. I said my goodbyes to everyone and followed Emily to her car. I got my stuff from her trunk, and she dropped me off by my mom’s car, and we left soon after. That was a fun day.

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