Most contestants felt there was a stroke of luck in the choice of sex tester, Leonard's wife, Jody Miller. A beautiful woman, she possesses a lovely smile that one would swear was innocent. One would be seriously mistaken.
"I'm being purposely vague about exactly what the test will be," she said a week before the run. "We will have to draw straws to see who goes first, because the timing of it could affect the outcome of the race. I mean the first ones will get more time to rest."
"What kind of test is it?" asked a naive visitor. "Hormones? Chromosomes?"
"It's a little more demanding than that," said Miller. "These are supposed to be men, you know. And I can't certify them to run without some evidence. I mean track meets have gone on for years and years just assuming that whoever says he's a man is a man. I suppose you can understand that. The poor dears, probably lots of them worried about it themselves. But when you start running for the money, you just have to have some standards, and believe me, I do."
Ultimately the day came. The LCC track rests within a bowl of mounded, grassy earth, which opens out on the north to a view of evergreen ridges. The place seemed on that summer evening to carry an air of open spaces not yet developed, a 19th century sort of promise. And of pomp. On the infield the 50 or so invited spectators sipped champagne from glasses arrayed on a steeplechase barrier and made lewd sport of the fretting, warming competitors.
The ribaldry was soon cut off by the bullhorn-amplified voice of the master of ceremonies, Robert Newland, a lumber broker who was a wide receiver for the New Orleans Saints for five years. The experience left him with scarred knees and a rueful sense of humor. Resplendent in velvet, he introduced the field.
In Lane 1 was O'Donnell, representing the Lower Primate T.C. Then, from Rosie Ruiz's Road Runners, came attorney Rick Roseta, who had assisted in the legal effort that won former pro shotputter Brian Oldfield the right to take part in the Olympic Trials.
"In Lane 3 is Jim Bryant from the Big Dog T.C," said Newland. "Jim has expressed a desire that the race be run in heat. Excuse me, in heats."
Chuck (Life Is a Holiday) Jaqua limped sourly into Lane 4. Meinert, looking fit, was in Lane 5, running for the Mental Block A.A. Next to him was his partner, Simpson, "who," said Newland, "is dedicating his efforts to the memory of Terri Rackley—The stuff that dreams are made of.' " This brought a curious expression to the brow of Simpson's wife, whose name is and always has been Sally.
Leonard was in Lane 7, with his old Marine singlet on and lethal two-inch spikes at the ready. "In Lane 8 is a competitor notorious for his lack of notoriety, from The Planned Parenthood T.C., Uncle Denny Elliot." In Lane 9 was Jimmy Jake Jaqua, and in Lane 10 was Martin, "a man who hasn't got a P.R. and doesn't know what it stands for." James was next, "the real winner already with more than $500 from treating the rest of you self-destructive bums." And in Lane 12 was San Francisco's Sandy Skeie, who said, "With a hustle like this, you guys should be in the record business." Skeie is in the record business.