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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Bucket List

Sports Illustrated recently had a Bucket List feature in which their writers listed off the things they'd like to do in the remainder of their lifetime. Tim Layden put running the Boston Marathon as his #1. Here's mine...

Things That Would Be On A List, But I've Already Done
1. Go to the World Championships
They're actually better than the Olympics because it's the only show in town. I went to the 2001 Worlds in Edmonton, and it was the greatest ten days of my life.

2. Run the Boston Marathon
I qualified in my first attempt and ran in 2003. Boston sports fans are loud, drunk, and obnoxious, and I appreciate that they consider the marathon a real sporting event and treat the participants as viciously as they do pro ballplayers.

3. Go to the Olympic Trials
My trip to the OT wasn't quite as good as to the Worlds--I went by myself rather than with my high school coach, as I did to Edmonton--but it's a great meet, and the national gathering of the sport.

4. Run on a championship team
This gets quite a bit more difficult after you leave college, since teams in the normal sense of training and competing together regularly essentially don't exist in the USA for adults. I got this out of the way early; I was on a state champion team as a high school sophomore, and was an important part of a city champion team as a senior.

5. Run in Key West on New Year's
There's no place like Key West, and there's nothing like having heat issues in the last half-mile of a 5k at 8 AM on New Year's eve, then tapping a keg and jumping in the ocean.

Things I'd Like To See
5. NCAA Championships
I've been to the NCAA cross-country meet at least a half-dozen times and it's always one of the highlights of the year. The NCAA outdoor track & field championships take that kind of great experience and multiply it by four days.

4. Stawell Gift
It's a pro handicap sprint event held annually in Australia since 1878 and a rockin' good time.

3. Penn Relays
I probably don't have to explain this one. 50,000 fans going nuts for a track meet? Sign me up.

2. Bislett Games
The stadium, the tradition, the city...gotta see it some day.

1. Jamaican High School Championships
The Boys' and Girls' Champs has been called the greatest meet in the world. It's like you combined the NCAA tourney with the entire college football rivalry week jammed into one day, and added the intensity of soccer fans. Chasing Bolt communicated the frenzy very well.

Things I'd Like To Do
5. Highland Games
I'd like to do the Breamar Challenge at the Bràigh Mhàrr Gathering in Scotland, or some other similar hill race at a Scottish Highland Games.

4. Penn Relays
Yeah, I want to run there, too. Looks like my only chance is a master's 4x400, just like Bill Cosby.

3. Bay to Breakers
A 12k known best for nudity and massive quantities of alcohol is right up my alley.

2. Dipsea
It's the second-oldest footrace in the country, and was the subject of the feature film On The Edge. It's a handicap race, giving everyone equal chance to win, and has no specific course--however you get from point A to point B is up to you.

1. New York City Marathon
Boston has the history and tradition, but for me the New York race defines marathoning. It was on national TV every year when I was young. For the past 27 years, whenever I've been running in our local city park in a cold rain, I imagine I'm Rod Dixon (and yes, I do kiss the pavement before I get in my car and go home).

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