I walked away
from the award stand with Tony, who finished fourth. Tony was 36 and had been
running even longer than I. He held the shiny silver trophy in his hand and
sighed. "Even a mediocre runner can win two trophies a week in New England.
They're nice at first, but pretty soon your basement fills up with
than rainwater," I said. Tony made me promise to come to the Sons of Italy
race the following Wednesday. He thought that maybe John Kelley would be
The big race in
New England over the weekend was in East Bridgewater, a short distance from the
Cape. We decided to bypass it in favor of the Milk Run in New York, mainly
because we wanted to visit the World's Fair.
We drove toward
New York on Saturday. After a leisurely lunch we reached Mystic, Conn., home of
John J. Kelley. I telephoned him. "Why aren't you down in New York
preparing yourself for the thrashing you deserve?" I asked.
are you?" he answered. When he found out he invited us over, and John and I
spent most of the visit trying to impress each other with our complete lack of
averaging only 10 miles a week," I said, "mostly on crutches."
"I do wind
sprints every evening," said John, who was entering the Milk Run, too.
"From the sofa to the TV set."
Before we climbed
into our car John gave us directions to New York. "Go down Pequot Avenue
for 379 yards. Turn left. In 742 yards you'll hit the turnpike. It takes 3�
minutes to run, but then you have a car."
We could have
used John's help the next day finding the start of the run. There is something
about me and starting lines. Predictably, we got off the subway train one stop
too early and arrived for the race barely in time for me to tie my shoelaces. I
was not the only one lost on the shores of the World's Fair. After almost four
miles of running, the police car leading us disappeared, hopefully chasing a
murderer. The entire field ran off course. When no one appeared to straighten
us out, we headed back toward the starting line. "If the cops can't find
136 grown men running down the middle of the street in shorts," I said to
Kelley, "I'm going to get a job as a New York burglar."
A policeman did
rediscover us. We were running down a one-way street in the wrong direction.
When he got us turned around Kelley had a lead on me. I caught him six miles
later and eventually won by eight seconds. I was leaning panting against the
side of a car when Kelley approached carrying a paper carton of milk in his
hand. "Hate to do this, Hal," he said, and with that emptied the
contents over my head. Milk cascaded over my glasses, down my shirt and into my
Tiger shoes. The race, I suddenly remembered, was sponsored by the Metropolitan
Dairy Institute. The drenching made for a funny picture in the New York Daily
News. Good thing, I thought, the Br'er Rabbit molasses people had not decided
to sponsor the race.