We finished the
leg at Neil Blaisdell Park on the shore of Pearl Harbor. Jones said that he had
never broken an hour for 10 miles, not possessing the speed to sustain a
six-minute-mile pace. Yet he had been averaging sevens for the 58 miles we had
covered. "He must be a natural ultramarathoner," said Henderson later.
"We're lucky we're not doing 40 miles a day. I don't think he'd
Because of the
day's longer distance, fatigue lingered. Camp faded in and out in brief
tableaux. In one of them Henderson hectored Peck and his friend, Sally Beugan,
23, of Woodside, Calif., who was leading the competitive women's division,
about their careful vegetarianism, saying, "You'll admit, won't you, that a
cow is just a conspiracy of some vegetables against other vegetables? Here,
have some mullet. It's the corn of the sea."
To compensate for
the long trek of the day before, we had to run only 13 miles on Day 4, along
construction-scarred Nimitz Highway into Waikiki. The finish was at our hotel
on a back street. Henderson and I fought through buses and shifting formations
of tourists to get there. "Two laps to go," he said when we were done,
meaning, two laps of the island. Henderson suddenly looked up at a phalanx of
white-haired, thickset women applauding us from the hotel lanai and said, very
loudly, "The irony of it is that if their husbands had run and not died
early, those biddies wouldn't have been able to use the insurance money to come
over here and cheer us on."
The next day we
ran rapidly out of town to the east, past Diamond Head, out Kalanianaole
Highway, the route of the Honolulu Marathon, of which Jack Scaff is one of the
originators. We finished the 17 miles over two large lava hills at Makapuu
Point. McCormack won the leg, giving us five winners in our first five days.
Henderson and I finished a minute and a half back, a few seconds of which were
spent cowering in a ditch to escape an enormous earthmover being carried on a
still more gargantuan truck.
After we had drunk
heartily, we let turquoise waves batter us silly at Makapuu Beach, the best
body-surfing area on Oahu. When we staggered out, we collapsed on the hot
"My Lord, I
can't even lift the can to my lips," said Jones.
know," said McCormack, lying spread-eagle, staring into the expanding blue
sky, "there's nobody better than us. I don't mean we're better than
everybody, but there's nobody better than us." That was a shared feeling,
that having been reduced to basics, we were becoming a mobile tribe.
Our tribe had
increased with the addition of Bert and Earlene Smith of Odessa, Texas, he a
red-faced trial lawyer, she a tiny blonde woman given to outfits of shocking
pink. They had signed on for a week. The Smiths reminded Henderson of Chester
and Jessica Tate in Soap. Bert tended toward resonance in his speech, and
Earlene showed a wondrous solicitude for his welfare. As they neared the finish
of each day's run, Bert would put his head down and outkick Earlene. Then, as
he stood panting, she would kneel and untie his shoes for him.
Day 6 presented us
with our hilliest section, 19.7 miles above the cities of Kailua and Kaneohe
and along the shore of Kaneohe Bay to Kualoa Point, near the minuscule island
known as Chinaman's Hat.
By now we knew how
to keep track of mileage by reference to mileposts and markers put down by
Roberto Deuriarte, the race's chief recorder. We invested such a childish faith
in them that when this day's run went on a mile farther than advertised,
Henderson said, "They flat-out lied to us."