Terre Haute Meltdown

Chapter 29, Blog 2

By Chuck Wells As Told To Ray Hochgesang



We began in Evansville where the Pocket City Striders held their annual club invitational on the first Saturday in April. I ran a lackluster 800, winning by 7 or 8 meters. The next Saturday, I ran in the Comet Racers event in Fort Wayne. Again, no one could touch me. In two races, I led from start to finish. It was boring. I wanted more. I needed someone to push me.

On the next Saturday, I ran in the Wabash Valley Invitational on the Indiana State University campus in Terre Haute. The 800 race was crowded, cramming 15 runners in eight lanes. As the mob surged at the start, I tripped and fell in a heap. Tied down by arms and legs, I was an old man in a pickup football game. In slow motion, the pile untangled. I struggled to my feet, shoved one guy aside and sprinted after the pack, about 20 meters ahead.

Scrambling down the backstretch past three stragglers, I felt something trickle down my leg. I looked and gasped. It was blood. My knee was missing three inches of skin.

Now I was angry. With hot adrenaline gushing, I shifted up a gear. I caught two more pretenders going into the curve, another coming out. The rest of the gang pranced 10 meters dead ahead.

“Come back here, you bastards!” I bellowed.

The small crowd stared in silence. Not even a buzz. I doubt they ever heard anyone run down the front stretch – and cuss. But I did hear a female voice ask “Did he say bastards?”

So what? I was hurt. I was mad. The bell clanged.

Harry shouted as I crossed the line. I couldn’t hear him. I didn’t care. I would run ’em down or run ’em over.

“Git the hell outta the way,” I huffed, steaming past two more on the curve.

“MOVE!” I yelled at three more in the backstretch.

It scared them, and they scattered. I scooted through the hole.

One left to catch. He poured it on through the last curve.

I chased him like an angry Tony Stewart.

Ten yards.

Six yards.





My left foot clipped his right heel. He dropped as if he were shot. Through the tape I sprinted and kept running – all the way to the car. A long 10 minutes later, Harry rolled up, tossed his walker in the backseat, and we took off for home.

“Better work on that start,” was all Harry said for the first five miles.

“Where’s my ribbon?” I asked about three miles later.

“Up that guy’s ass,” said Harry.

Copyright © 2012 by Chuck H. Wells/Ray Hochgesang

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