Walking – and drinking – my way to an unexpected prize

Emmitt B. Feldner  for The Review

I finally found a way to win a prize for running – and managed to get a few free beers in the bargain as well.

And it only took me six decades to get there – to win a prize, not to finish the race.

Terry’s place of employment was part of a Festival of Beer last weekend – a worthy celebration if there ever was one – and part of the festivities was a 5K Beer Run/ Walk Saturday morning.

Now ordinarily, I wouldn’t be up – literally or figuratively – for any kind of exercise on a Saturday morning, but there was an added incentive in this case – beer.

Terry explained that, as part of the run/walk, participants got a free 12-ounce can of beer after every mile.

That was more than enough motivation for me.

Terry went over earlier in the morning to help out as a volunteer before we were scheduled to run, so she had to give me a wakeup call at home to make sure I made it in time – which I did, just barely.

Actually, neither one of us were up to running that far, having both completed six decades of life.

In my case, age probably has nothing to do with it – running has never been an activity I’ve excelled at, or even come close to excelling at.

I do like to point out that, in the eighth grade, I finished first in the two-mile run in fifth period gym class.

The only problem with that is that I had gym class fourth period – but at least I finished.

Terry and I soon left ev- erybody ahead as we leisurely walked along the course, but we were confident there would be enough beer at each mile post that we’d still be able to get our liquid refreshment.

Sure enough, they still had plenty of cold ones when we finally completed the first mile – and fortunately, they had waited for us to arrive.

At the start of the run/walk, we competitors had been told we could either slam the beer at each mile post or take it with us to drink along the course.

That just meant it made more sense to walk the course, since that gave us time to savor the beer – which of course was the only reason we were doing this in the first place.

It didn’t take long for Terry and I to settle into our appropriate place in the race – last place.

Everyone else had passed us long before we even reached the first mile post, so we made it our goal to bring up the rear gloriously.

I was even gallant enough to sprint ahead of Terry when we fi- nally reached the finish line, since she said she wanted to be the last to cross.

I did find it a little insulting though that they timed everyone else with a stopwatch and the two of us with an hourglass.

After the race – at least, it was a race for some people, if it wasn’t for us – we hung around for some refreshments while they announced the various winners.

The last category they read off was males age 60-69. After recognizing the first and secondplace winners, the announcer said, “And third place, Emmitt Feldner.”

I immediately looked around to see who else had the same name as me, since I had never before met someone else with my name, but it soon became evident that I was the Emmitt Feldner to whom she was referring.

For my prize, I got a souvenir glass from the Festival of Beer; free samples of after shave gel, shampoo and conditioner; and a small print of one of the holes on the local golf course.

Unfortunately, there was no trophy to put in my trophy case – which is probably a good thing, since if there was a trophy I would be forced to build a trophy case for it.

I guess it means I’ll have to enter the race again next year to defend my title.

At this rate, I figure by the time I hit 90 I may be able to finish first because there will be nobody else in my age category.

I just wonder how long it will take me to cover five kilometers in a wheelchair.

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