By LARRY VAUGHT
MIDWAY — Despite the pain and aches in both legs today, I really did have a great time again at the Iron Horse Half-Marathon in Midway Sunday.
Yes, the hills did seem longer even though it was the same course again. Yes, I swear the 13.1 miles seemed longer than ever before.
But one thing was constant — every detail about an event like this was taken care of and the hundreds of volunteers who work the race are unbelievably kind and supportive.
And a special thank you to the woman at the downtown Midway grocery who rescued me just before the run started when I discovered the battery on my radio was dead. Just let me have batteries on my looks and promise I would return after the race to pay her.
There’s always plenty of inspiration on the course — even if my buddy Mark Buerger keeps finding reasons not to show up and run.
This year former Marine Matthew Bradford, who is well known to UK fans, was there. He was seriously injured serving our country in Iraq. His wife, Amanda, pushed him in his wheelchair for all 13.1 miles. And get this — she put a 20-pound weight in a backpack just to make the event more challenging for her. They still finished in 4 hours, 14 minutes.
The Midway mayor greeted them before the race. A reporter from the Woodford Sun in nearby Versailles interviewed him before the event started. Now I do wonder why Freddie Maggard, who lives in nearby Versailles, didn’t come over to support Matt and Amanda — but I know he had his reasons.
I got through the first 10.2 miles in 1 hours, 50:09 seconds. The final 2.9 miles — when my 65-year-old body was telling me to quit — took me 33 minutes, 13 seconds. My final time was 2:23;22.8 — which broke the goal I had of 2 hours, 30 minutes. That was a pace of 10:57 for the old guy. I was finisher 391 out of 585.
Former UK punter Jason Todd of Stanford finished in 2:02:36 — a 9:15 pace. Then he went back on the course to walk with the Bradfords.
That’s the kind of friendship/support you have at MIdway. Thanks to the many, many volunteers who encouraged me — including many who recognized me and told me what Mark Buerger was saying about me on WLAP during the run.