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"Don't tell me. They changed the course."
"Not exactly. They simply built a bridge over a long gulley that we used to run through."
The trophies and prizes were presented in the parking lot behind the Sons of Italy Hall. For winning I was offered my third wristwatch in 10 days. I chose a transistor radio instead, because my wife wanted one for the kitchen. I also got the Somebody-or-other Memorial Trophy.
With the award ceremony finished we drove over to Tony's house for coffee and cake. Mike Bigelow was there with his wife. So were Stu Adams, his family and some other runners from the B.A.A.
The Sapienza house had been furnished on the roads of New England. There were a toaster, an electric toothbrush, several mixers, a clock on the wall, pen sets, glassware and many, many other items all won during his travels around the horn of plenty. The Sapienza family, down to second cousins, had been outfitted with half a dozen wristwatches apiece. On the mantel in the living room stood a sterling silver beer mug won in a race in New London, Conn. For some reason the New London sponsors give trophies to the first three finishers and mugs to the next 10. Several years ago the runner in third place stopped five yards before the finish line and waited for the next runner to pass so he could get a mug.
I gazed in envy at the accumulation and inwardly cursed myself for having been born in a section of the world where the only thing you got out of a race was sunburn. "Very impressive," I said.
"Aha!" said Tony. "But come see this."
We descended a narrow stairway into the basement. Tony pulled a cord illuminating a single light on the ceiling. And, lo, in a corner where one might have anticipated a coal bin, stood a table laden with hundreds of trophies—gold, silver, marble, wood and tarnished brass—lurking beneath a dusty plastic covering.
"Go on, make me an offer," said Tony.