We ended 2018 participating in a healthy 5k fundraiser event. La gripa whittled down our numbers to a manageable eight children and two adults. Last year we recall having 14 people stuffed into our car to get to the race in Todos Santos. These kids are all growing as their supposed to and ever week it’s harder to fit them into the Exploder. While I’m sad we lost a few participants I’m a little grateful the cold came through town and did some pack reduction. Our wallets are grateful, too. This race is a fundraiser and it cost us over $100 for our group’s entry fees even with a kind man’s 30% subsidy. Thank you man-whose-name-I-forgot-to-get.
Overall the kids athletic performances were much stronger. Most of our pack finished in under and hour with sub 17 minute walking miles. Last year’s Queen Whiner, the one who swore she’d never come back, was among those strong walkers and had only good things to say this year. She was justifiably proud of her accomplishment. Then there were the stragglers: Burt and his group of wandering duckies. I was mid-Pescadero pack, halfway between our steady walkers with a dear Daniela, and Burt and his group. I could see our speedier kids and encourage Daniela but I could not see Burt. As I walked with Daniela, who could have been with the other kids if she had cared, I found myself in an age old familiar spot. If I walked behind Daniela she slowed down. If I walked with her she dropped back. If I walked ten feet in front of her and talked over my shoulder she could keep up. Since I wanted to keep an eye on the faster kids I psychically dragged Daniela while walking just ahead of her. Daniela is our silent muse. She was the very first kid to show up to our music/English classes 4 seasons ago on the steps of the Police station. Despite years of contact I can still hardly get her to speak. It was a long walk with me trying to get anything out of her but a yes or no. I tried not to take it personally.
Meanwhile across town, Burt was doing the same thing. If he slowed to the kid’s pace they’d never finish so he had to keep walking just ahead of them to keep them going. Still the race organizers sweep team missed them and cleared the course before they were done. What silliness. I was at the finish line saying please don’t pack up we’ve get a 7 year old and some other kids still out there and the sweepers were saying they must have quit. It was awkward. But I defended my kids. Burt had a phone and I knew he’d have called if there was a problem. They were just slow. Very slow. I persisted. I wanted them to be greeted by cheers and medals like everyone else. In fact the sweepers had passed them so early in the race they never realized they had missed a group of racers. An hour and oh, maybe twenty minutes, maybe thirty minutes after the start our ducklings came in with Burt scooting them forward every step of the last 100 yards. They were a meandering lot. The fastest line is the straight line was an unknown concept to them. And they were met with cameras and cheers and medals. Yay.