Monday, November 06, 2006

Tarzan Brown 5.5 Mile Run

On Sunday we travelled South to Mystic Connecticut to run in the 31st Annual Tarzan Brown 5.5 Mile Road Race. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful course along the Mystic River with a short loop through the woods. I keep telling Colleen I will stay with her but once the race begins my adrenalin kicks in and off we go. I really tried this time but there were several other runners pushing strollers and I wanted to beat them so I did. Ambiana and I rolled across the finish line in 44 minutes 43 seconds unnoffically for we do not enter 252nd out of 545 runners. Colleen finished with a respectable 51:30 but she has the annoying habit of stopping short of the finish line for fear(unfounded)of ruining the race results of the registered runners.

Tarzan Brown...two time winner of the Boston Marathon, two time U.S. 25-kilometer champion, the man who broke the world marathon record twice and participant in the 1936 Olympics has inspired many young people to compete in sports that might not otherwise dare. You see, Ellison M. "Tarzan" Brown was a Narragansett Indian, raised in poverty on a reservation. "The economy in these depression times provided little for most Americans and nothing for Indians. They were a conquered people living on the margin... Ellison Myers Brown, born on the margin, saw running as his only way out of poverty." Those were the words of Tom Derderian in his work The Boston Marathon: The History of the World's Premier Running Event.

Brown was an incredible athlete, and keeping his prowess under control could be a problem. In the 1936 marathon, Brown took off so fast that the press cars were unaware he was out in front, and followed the second place runners instead. By the twenty mile mark, however, Brown was tiring, and Johnny Kelley overtook him on Newton Hill. As Kelley passed Brown, he reached out and patted him on the shoulder, thinking he had the race won. Brown, however, rallied and came back to win the race, while Kelley faded to a fifth place finish. It was this event, Kelley passing Brown and then losing the race, that resulted in Newton Hill being dubbed Heartbreak Hill by Boston Globe Reporter Jerry Nason. The name stuck, and Heartbreak Hill has been giving runners problems since, probably due to it's location late in the race. Brown also won the race in 1939, setting a new record of 2:28:51. He was the first American marathoner to run under 2 hours, 30 minutes. Brown's last Boston Marathon was in 1946, where he placed 12th. His career was ended by a double hernia.

Brown had to endure racial harassment and stereotypes throughout his career. The morning after he won the 1936 marathon, he was dubbed "Chief Crazy Horse" by a respected newspaper writer. Brown also never gained materially or career-wise by his amazing athletic abilities. When he returned to his reservation life after the marathons, Jerry Nason wrote "Tarzan would much rather learn to keep a good line of traps than to explore the alphabet". Despite this, Brown did serve as a role model to many young Indian athletes.

We crashed the after-race soiree and loaded up on chowder,(Colleen: 4 cups) and potato chips,(Mochi: 3 bags) bread and cider. Mystic is a cute little town on theocean but way more trendy than I remember. We used to come here as kids with my Mom to visit her college chum the late Alice Rathband. Next week is a 1/2 marathon in New Hampshire and we are alos planning on running a 5k in Toldeo on Thanksgiving morning and hope Patti, Ben, Laurel, Tony and Beth will join us!!!

Samahim has come and gone, the leaves are fallen and piling up, Night is growing, day is dwindling and we are quickening towards Winter and the re-birth of the light. Click here for an account of our
Samhaim Celebration

Gaelen spent the day with us Saturday. We cleared some floatsam from our favorite spot down on the Connecticut which had piled up during the high water last week. Gaelen is pretty good with a saw. After lunch we went to a Tibetan Awareness fair in Amherst which was pretty boring except for the Yaks and on the way home we stopped in at the Nash Dinosaur tracks in Granby which were a big letdown after a year of anticipation built by driving by the sign every time we go shopping. It was nothing but a big slab of slate with lots of cut out pieces which were for sale in the gift shop and maybe 5 or 6 tracks. At home we built the couch fort and played throwing games with the balls and blocks and had a big leaf fight in the backyard as well as fun jumping in the pile!

Click Play for video highlights of our week!

Canoe Update

My canoe is coming right along, I have installed the gunwales and am working now on the decks. I have also drilled the 150 holes in the seat frames needed to weave the cane. For more canoe info and pictures click on the Canoe Update header above the picture.