"Who do you run for?" he asked her.
"I run for Jesus," she said.
"For Jesus," she repeated, turning and showing him the back of her gold uniform. It read: "RUNNING FOR JESUS." She smiled. "But I don't think you want me; I think you want that girl over there." She pointed to another runner.
Meanwhile, Francie was asking officials if she could run in the 800. "Why not?" they said. And an hour later, she won in 2:08.7, Jackson having passed up her specialty. Then Larrieu took off for the airport. "I thought it was just for fun," Francie said on the way out, "but I couldn't help myself."
In the cold driving rain, no one really expected much from the sprinters. "I don't mind it," said Ivory Crockett, the 27-year-old co-holder (with Houston McTear) of the 100-yard world record of 9.0, "but it's got to be a warm rain. Anybody runs too fast in this weather has got to be crazy."
In the blocks next to Crockett was Harvey Glance, the 19-year-old freshman from Auburn who may be one of the world's most unusual athletes. For one thing, he is only 5'8" and 145 pounds but can bench-press 305 pounds. Even more amazing, the youngster from Phenix City, Ala. can jump on top of a Volkswagen from a flat-footed start. His coach, Mel Rosen, is sure that someday Glance will not only be a great sprinter (in April, at Columbia, S.C., he became the eighth man ever to run 100 meters in 9.9), but also a world-class long jumper.
At Des Moines, Crockett and Glance were just about even at the halfway mark. And then, pfft, Glance was gone. He won in 10.1. Crockett, who never really got into high gear, finished third, behind Mike Goodrich, in 10.3.
After a few more events the relays were over. The rain was still falling. Equipment bag in hand, Ralph Mann came down from the stands and onto the track. Slowly he pulled on a pair of spiked shoes and began to work out. For him and so many others there are still a lot of lonely miles between the end of April and Montreal.