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A Road Runner's Bonanza, or, Has Anybody Seen Kelley?
Hal Higdon
September 05, 1966
'Let's spend our vacation in New England,' said the author, whose motives were ulterior. While the family rode the Ferris wheel he would run mad races and win Good Prizes and Top Trophies. He might even meet stiff competition, if spectral Johnny should ever materialize A Road Runner's Bonanza, or, Has Anybody Seen Kelley?
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September 05, 1966

A Road Runner's Bonanza, Or, Has Anybody Seen Kelley?

'Let's spend our vacation in New England,' said the author, whose motives were ulterior. While the family rode the Ferris wheel he would run mad races and win Good Prizes and Top Trophies. He might even meet stiff competition, if spectral Johnny should ever materialize A Road Runner's Bonanza, or, Has Anybody Seen Kelley?

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Suddenly a burst of noise erupted in the center of the room. Jock Semple, trainer for the Boston Athletic Association, was mouthing off in a Scottish accent and wagging a finger at a blond runner wearing glasses. Almost at once Handicapper Fred Brown moved over and, consulting with Semple, added four minutes to the boy's handicap. "Yoor too good a rooner to start so early," snorted Semple. The boy, who probably should have been angry at losing his chance for an easy prize, looked pleased as Punch.

As I walked to the starting line Semple explained the course to me. "Most New England 10-miles are shoort," he advised. "This one hoppens to be a wee bit loong." From the way he stretched out "loong" I surmised (rightly) that the course must be close to 11 miles.

My wife and children, their pony-riding over for the time being, were waiting to watch the start. As the gun sounded a handful of runners plodded off, but I stood riveted to the ground like the Minute Man monument in Concord. "Run, Daddy, run!" shouted my oldest boy, Kevin. "Why aren't you running?"

"That's what I'd like to know."

When it came my turn I jumped half a step before the timer yelled, "Go." Within two miles I had caught the runner who had started a minute before me, Tom Laris, formerly of Dartmouth. But by five miles Buschman came steaming by us, and I suddenly wished it was one of those shoort New England 10-miles. I thought I passed half the population of Salem in the last two miles, but when I reached the finish line I had only improved to 19th. Buschman, who was bothered by a cramp in his side, was seventh. Laris, with a better kick, finished fourth.

Only one cold-water shower was available for the 80 runners, but scattered over a long banquet table was enough merchandise to have stocked our local J. C. Penney store. Unluckily, by the time 18 other runners had selected their prizes, my choice had been narrowed to a toilet seat and a pair of laundry bags. One of our toilet seats at home indeed needed replacing, but our automobile trunk already bulged and my mind recoiled at the thought of standing before several thousand spectators at a lawn potty and being handed a toilet seat. I chose the laundry bags.

The day after my humiliation at Salem we drove to Cape Cod and our rented cottage near East Sandwich, which we had located with the help of Stuart Adams, one of Semple's B.A.A. marathoners.

"Where is our next race?" my wife asked me shortly after we unpacked our bags.

"That's right," I said.

"What?"

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