When Charlie hits the last mile of the race, he is feeling great and looking forward to crossing the finish line. His personal goal is finishing in the Top 5 if possible. He has always finished in the Top 10 at least. Crossing the line produces such a feeling of satisfaction, especially when so many people line the sidewalks cheering. Once he grabs water, watermelon, and oranges, Charlie lets himself wind down. However, he never leaves until the last runner crosses the finish line. As far as he is concerned, every runner deserves to be cheered across the finish line, especially his “little sister,” Annie.
When Annie hits Oakland Street, she really wants to stop but she pushes herself forward. The last mile is tough because there so many turns (six total). It feels like the last mile goes on forever. Of course, not finishing is not an option for Annie. Charlie would never let her forget if she did. Besides, there are the runners she has gotten to know who are considerably older than she is and they will finish the race. As Karen told her, she wants her grandchildren to know that at 68 it is still possible to be healthy and active. With one turn left – the one on to Water Street – Annie realizes she still has a sprint left in her. Maybe it is the cheering or seeing the finish line that give her the extra kick. Mostly, however, it is knowing that big brother “Chuck” is there to cheer her across the finish line.
Once she crosses the finish line, Annie gets water and oranges and sits in the grass waiting for Charlie to find her. This is such a great opportunity to see old friends, neighbors, former coaches and teachers. She had a chance to talk to her former guidance counselor early in the morning and is waiting to see her AP English teacher who always runs the race. Eventually, she and Charlie will find their way to the Inn at Shipyard Park, but first it is important to hear the winners announced. It is fun to hear where the runners are from and who the local winners are. She and Charlie are always amazed by the distance some people will travel to run this race. This is a credit to the Road Race Committee and the work put into planning and preparing for this one day. There are people like Bob and Doris Gardner and Dan White who have been involved forever that make the race so successful. But the best part is knowing how many graduating seniors will receive scholarship assistance because of this race. Charlie and Annie were those seniors once upon a time, so this makes running the race very important to them.
Charlie and Annie hope they will see you in Mattapoisett Village on July 4th either running or cheering. Annie sends a special thanks to Karen, Kate, Laurie and Cecile for sharing their feelings about the race.