Studying on campus

Columns by Ernie W. Webb III

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2013 fun run
35-39 male division winner Matt Benaka

About 200 runners, walkers and volunteers participated in the 2013 Fun Run and Campus Walk despite inclement weather.

About the event

Webb: Putting the fun in the run

President Jerry Farley and the Alumni Association's Ernie Webb

By Ernie W. Webb III

“Great. There goes my PR (personal record).” It’s the first thing that ran through my mind when I saw the forecast for the Alumni Association 5K Fun Run and 2-mile campus walk Sept. 28.

After spending months preparing to finish the race in 28 minutes (three minutes faster than 2012, six minutes faster than 2011), I figured at the very least the weather would cooperate.

Nature’s answer: A forecast of heaving rain, gusty winds and lightning.

I tried to be positive: 1. “Well, the pressure’s off now. I can blame the weather.” 2. “Assuming there is lightning, I’m probably going to run a lot faster.”

The original goal was simple: As chronicled in the fall edition of The Ichabod, all I really wanted to accomplish this year was running faster than the lady wearing a tutu. Imagine my disappointment when she said she wasn’t running this year.

Suddenly, I needed inspiration to keep training and settled on breaking 30 minutes. Somehow, and I’m still not sure when or why, that became 28 minutes.

“You might be a little obsessed,” my wife said. “Think about how far you’ve come.”

Perspective. Perfect. A new strategy: Just run for fun. Or fast, if there’s lightning.

Amazingly enough, what was forecast as a powerful storm dissipated. The lightning and heavy rain moved east hours before the race. All that remained was a steady drizzle and a slight, cool breeze – great running weather.

I took my wife’s advice for about a half-mile before the competitiveness took over. I hit one mile in 9 minutes, 20 seconds, my fastest first mile since the George Bush (H.W., not W.) administration.

Mile No. 2, which I reached moments after passing the tutu (she opted to walk this year), came at 18:57, leaving a little more than nine minutes to hit the goal.

Surprisingly, I got a second wind on the last turn of the race, sprinting over the final quarter mile, fueled largely by a large group of cheering alumni, friends and my wife in the last stretch.

Twenty-seven minutes, 55 seconds. Now that was fun.

2013 Fun Run and Campus Walk