Working at road races fun, tiring

It was my mother who insisted that I spend my childhood weekends working mornings at athletic road r

I realize more and more that my mother is always right. My mother knows what is best when it comes to what I wear, say and do. In many situations it was my mother who insisted that I spend my childhood weekends working mornings at athletic road races and I understand now that it was the right thing to do. But what is right is not always easy or fun.

These races would always start at some crazy hour in the morning and last all through the early afternoon. I was put to work standing at water stations, collecting runners’ numbers, running spindles down to be counted and setting up and taking down the finish line equipment. In my first years of working these races, I thought these jobs were very exciting. I got to run around all morning, hang out with my mom and sister and work with real adults.

My fondest memory of these weekends was running through the colorful finish-line ropes. The rainbow-colored flags dangling from the rope would lead the runners down to the end of the chute and through to receive their prize. To me, these weren’t any old flags. The alternating bright colors always caught my eye as I would pretend to run through the finish line, touching each shiny flag as I ran by to make them dance and shimmer.

During those moments, I would close my eyes and dream that I was a part of that 3,000-person race. After I would cross the line, the dream was over until the next race. During my elementary school years, my mother would never have to drag me to work but as I got older it was a different story.

After a while, arising in the early mornings and missing Saturday cartoons annoyed me. Running around all morning, with sometimes not receiving any treats at the end, stopped being so appealing. Working outside in the cold, especially on winter mornings, after a long week of high school, the outside winter weather wasn’t much fun. Yet, my mother demanded and dragged Katie and me endlessly to road races.

Sooner or later Katie and I decided we might as well make the best of it, so we had our fun cracking jokes and having the giggles all morning, which seemed to pass the time quickly. The road races came to a gradual halt when our own 7 a.m. track practices started during high school. Ironically, despite years of despising the winter weather and protesting the idea of running around all morning, I took up track and enjoyed four years of practicing in the chilly morning air.

Laura Barlow is a 12th-grader at Shaker High School in Latham.

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