Thinking more about the race

The serious runners are usually well on their way to the finish line just about the time the outrageously costumed participants are beginning to catch everyone's attention. That's the scene at the annual Bay To Breakers foot race in San Francisco, where some people race across the peninsula and others—well, run. I don't think the participants who dress up as centipedes, famous buildings, trees, fire engines, or who wear funny hats run to win; they just run to have fun.

One year, instead of sitting along the sidelines to watch the costumed participants run by, our family volunteered to help coordinate activities at the finish line. Eventually we were surrounded by hundreds of earnest runners and could see firsthand how immensely devoted to the race they were. Timing was monitored to fractions of a second; there was talk of each turn, each hill, each mile of the course. These runners, we noticed, weren't distracted by the thousands of spectators along the way or by the imaginative costumes many of the participants were wearing. Their attention was focused on the race.

You're whole!
February 14, 1994

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