April 28, 2002 - Sunday
I made a snap decision today that was rather selfish amidst a large group of people. I don't know that it was right, but it was right for Harry and I don't feel too bad.
Harry was excited to see all the runners start the Boston Marathon on TV a couple of weeks ago, so I thought the start of a 10K road race nearby would be a good morning diversion. It turned out that we didn't stay to see the 10K at all, which started much later, but we did see several kids races before we came home for lunch. After the first race, a 40-50 yard dash of 1-year olds, I asked Harry if he wanted to run with the 2-year olds, but shy Harry said, "no." Then several groups of 3-year olds, 4-year olds, and 5-year olds came running by us, virtually one after the other, and that got Harry more excited and more interested in running himself. After more than a dozen such heats going by Harry was ready, but by that time the kids going by were much older.
There was a short break in the action between the final 5-year old race and the start of a 2K race that I'm guessing might have been limited to kids up to 8th grade. We happened to be standing near the corral that marked the finish line, a final 20-30 yards for the 2K, 5K, races 10K with spectator barriers and a big finishing arch, and Harry decided this was something he wanted to see. With no activity expected there right away, I didn't see any harm in walking with Harry down between the temporary orange side walls up to the finish. We made it back into position to see the start of the 2K in plenty of time and Harry thrilled again at the hundreds of kids running by. After they'd all passed, Harry ran after them following the course onto a ballfield and I let him go until the leaders were heading back toward the finish. We walked back and positioned ourselves just before the start of the finishing corral, conveniently near a currently unused long jump sand pit. With that I thought Harry had lost interest in the running, so I gave Harry advance notice that we had to go home for lunch and waited for the end of the race to come through. The winners came by at a little after eight minutes on the clock, with Harry still playing in the sand, so by about 12 and a half minutes with the string of participants was starting to thin, I pulled Harry from the sand pit. But, that only renewed his interest in the passing running. He wanted to run again.
So, here was my decision: we were standing at the entrance to the finishing corral with mothers and fathers lining both sides to see their children come running through to finish the race and Harry, now comfortable with this corral having been down it once, wanted to join the runners. I could either have grabbed him, picked him up, and carted him to the car, likely causing him to kick the air and scream about "don't want to" or let him go down the path, following him to the possible ire of the on-looking public. I choose the latter. I was wearing a hat and pulled it down a little as we passed the cheering fans. Harry thought they were cheering for him, and some of then were. One said I was blocking her picture of her daughter coming in. I ducked. I kept Harry to the side and running the length to the finish. Down the corral and out the other end, we were heading in the right direction to our car. Past an equipment truck with "guys" inside, It was the perfect escape, at least for Harry and, mostly, me.