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A Race to Remember
By Gloria Jacobsen

A fluttery stomach does me no good as I line up on the starting line. My neck pulses at every beat of my heart. "How will I finish?" is the question that is pestering my mind. Yet no, the gun cannot wait. It fires with that full, majestic sound that spurs many 5th and 6th grade runners to sprint into a muddy trail.

The trail is like a funnel, going from a wide field into a small, muddy trail. At least I'm in second, but wait!  Whoever is in first place is tiring, so I pass her. Hooray, I'm in first. 

Now my mind torments me, asking me if I will be able to keep myself in first place. After all, this is the shortest race I've ever run. It's a one mile race, and so I have no idea how to pace myself. I answer all my questions with, "Just keep going."

I'm three-quarters done and still pressing on. As I come around the Bartlett track, I start to lengthen my stride. Now I see it. Lines of ecstatic people are surrounding the flagging that runs along the hundred yards I have left to go.

I am extremely tired, so I don't know if I'll have the energy to finish with my favorite full-out sprint on the grass. Yet, as my right toe touches the grass, something happens. I cannot explain what happens when my feet merely skim the first inch of that hundred yard stretch. Maybe you have felt that blast of energy, that renewed strength, yet neither description fits it vividly enough.  Suddenly, my legs move without my brain. 

I quickly glance up at the clock that is above the finish before I cross over the white line. But I'm going so fast I feel as if I can't stop quickly enough to not crash into the flagging that surrounds the chute. Thankfully, I am able to turn into the chute. I did it!

The feeling of victory can only be understood by those of us who have experienced it before. I imagine myself as a soldier who has conquered one of the most difficult challenges of the battle. His first honorable feat. And that's how I feel as I exit the chute with a pumping heart and dreamy aspirations.

My last race of the season brings to mind a thought that many have pondered before, "What will next season bring?"

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