Bob Bestler | My marathon training, and running, have left the station

February 8, 2013 

Let me be the first to welcome you to Myrtle Beach Marathon Week.

The MB Marathon is an event that has always been close to my heart, ever since I started doing (not running, but doing) marathons to help raise money for leukemia – and to fill a few hundred column inches back in the day.

I did all 26.2 miles of the Myrtle Beach Marathon in its early years, then, getting older, did a half-marathon.

Later I helped out by becoming the “sweeper.” That means I walked behind all 1,800 or so marathoners to make sure no one had been left behind in a ditch or port-a-potty or a McDonald’s.

Kenyans can finish a marathon in about 2 hours, most regular runners between three or four hours.

Me, I walked for eight hours as I followed the slowest runners/walkers to the finish line.

A couple of years ago I accompanied my daughter on a 13.1-mile half-marathon, both of us starting out with very little training behind us.

She made it to the nine-mile mark before blisters took over. I limped on alone and came in dead last.

Curiously, my age in that event was listed as 99. So where was the media? Why was I, a 99-year-old marathoner, not interviewed? NBC would have loved it. Better get on the stick, people.

But I digress.

That one told me my marathoning days were over. I loved the marathon, but hated the training. Sadly, you cannot do one without the other.

But I still wanted to be a part of this great event so this year I have become a volunteer and will register runners for the full marathon on Friday.

It’s not very exciting, but I think my legs and my feet and my back and my hips and my heart will thank me when my shift is done.

If all goes well, I may volunteer for marshal work next year.

I’d just stand on a corner and smile at runners as they go by. That would sure look good on my resume if I ever need a job as a Wal-Mart greeter.

Contact BOB BESTLER at bestler6@tds.net.

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