Last year when I got to the top of the hill there was no one there. I was so slow that they had already closed the water stop and everyone had gone inside. This year there were a lot of people including about 6 Vets in Wheelchairs over by the building. I had made it up the hill without walking and was completely out of breath, I mean close to death. The two people behind me were catching up, but there were 6 Vets out there to cheer me on, much older Vets. I just couldn't run past them. I made a split second decision ,ran a little bit off course, took my hat off, and took a minute to shake each Vet's hand and personally thanked each of them, knowing that I might not reach all my goals for the day. I then started my way down the hill, got passed by the last two runners, but I didn't care. I kept trudging on and when I got on the flat at the bottom of the hill I kicked it up a notch and passed them and never looked back.
With about a half a mile left the next thing I know there is a soldier running with me. She said that she wanted to run the rest of the way in with me. She said she was impressed that I never walked on the hill and that I was pushing myself even though she could tell it was hard. I almost burst into tears. That meant so much to me. Two of my friends came back to run in with me too. I pushed hard, finished the race, reaching all of my goals for the day. The biggest one is that I shaved 6:42 off of last year's time. I am very happy with this outcome, but when I think of this race what I will remember most are the faces of the Vets when I stopped running and took a moment to thank them. Why do I race? For moments like these.