20 April 2008

River to River 2008

One of my favorite authors, Stephen Covey, says, "Begin with the end in mind."

So the first picture of the River to River 2008 is a picture of the finish line/chute they all enter. The race clock is ongoing since the first team left the beginning leg of the race(well, when they left the 2nd leg of the race. The first one had to be scratched because it was under water(yes, it has been flooding here. lol) That just meant that the 1st of 8 runners on each of the 140 teams only had to run 2 legs and the rest had to run 3 legs. The average distance each runner ran was+/- 10 miles.

We arrived on scene about 1 p.m. It was a carnival-like atmosphere. Everything is centered on the grounds of the City Hall in Golconda. You can see the grounds in the background of the first picture as well as some of the ones to come. There were food booths set up, an area for the runners to receive massages as they crossed the finish line and about 3 blocks straight behind the UHaul trailer is the Ohio River. We walked down to see it and that baby is HIGH! Where we walked on the shore last year is now under water.

The weather was cool, cloudy and intermittent rain. I had the most fun I've had in a while. My girls were fun(although right after we got there Kelli doubled over in pain so this "virus" is apparently still acting up and she will be seen this week. Nurse Mom medicated her and kept a watch on her.) Roger had his camera and was having a ball taking pictures. He got a few of Kiereney and me bugging Kelli when her best friend Erica called and said that she was taking Kelli on an all expenses paid trip to NY for Erica's 30th birthday! We couldn't tell what Erica was saying and Kelli's side of the conversation was so intriguing so Kiereney and I ganged up on her to hear what was being said.

The protocol is that the team waits for their last runner in Golconda and as he comes into sight they join him and run in with him so they cross the finish line together. They were down about 6 blocks waiting from us and I spotted the grey and black PT uniforms so Roger zoomed the camera and caught the guys waiting for Ben Bruhn, their #8 runner:

Cadet Michael is 2nd from the left looking at the camera.

Here they are running towards the finish line. The guy to the right of the girl has a red metal baton in his arm. When that baton crosses the finish line, then the team has an official time of how long it took them to run the 80 mile course. For whatever reason, Michael(third from the left with his arm pumping) is out ahead of Ben who has the baton. Maybe he thought this was his 15 seconds of fame? lol

This was after they crossed the finish line and were comparing notes. You can see more of the grounds of the court house.

This is the official team photo. Michael is on the far right. The man with the dark jacket on is their coach, Captain Wyatt. The monument they are standing in front of is Golconda's tribute to all the soldiers who gave their ultimate in Iraq.

This article was one of several in the morning paper but this one concerns Michael's Army ROTC team. If you would like to read more about the race, please go to

Race serves as social, team-building exercise
By D.W. Norris, For The Southern
Saturday, April 19, 2008 11:08 PM CDT

GOLCONDA - Hall of Fame pitcher Satchel Paige once cautioned, "Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you."

While plenty of teams come to Southern Illinois looking to outdistance their competitors in the River to River Relay, not all the runners follow Paige's advice. These runners want their friends to catch up with them.

Some active and retired men and women of the armed forces, as well as members of police and fire departments, see the race as an opportunity for a reunion. Others use the race as a team-building exercise.

For Lieutenant Colonel Cristine Gibney, stationed in Fort Hood, Tex., the 21st edition of the race is like an informal welcome home ceremony.

"I was in Iraq last year and they kind of ran in my honor," Gibney said of the 1st Cav's Got Your Back team. "I wasn't there, but I got to kind of be there."

Gibney ran in two River to Rivers before she served her second tour of duty in Iraq as a planner for the 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division.

Jennifer Greer, the civilian captain of the 1st Cav's team, said having Gibney back in the fold was special, but, "we still will be running for the 1st Cav and everybody who is still over there."

Members of SIU's Army and Air Force ROTC groups used the race as a measuring stick.

"The challenge was to always beat the Air Force," Army ROTC Captain Timothy Wyant said.

Army and Air Force are in the middle of a semester battle for athletic supremacy. Army holds a 2-0 lead in the five-event competition after wins in football and a four-mile run.

The River to River is a pivotal part of the competition. With a Saturday win, Army locks up the series, but Air Force won't go down without a fight. The group usually has the advantage in the River to River.

"We've won the last couple years," Air Force cadet Andrew Miller said. "Last year was the first time they beat us in a long time."

The Champaign PD SWAT team entered the event for the third consecutive year, team captain John Murphy said.

His group of active policemen usually uses the event as a team-building or fundraising exercise. This year things were different.

"One of my guys lost his son in January in Iraq so we're dedicating our efforts this year to his memory," Murphy said. "It's really an honor for us to be able to do something to recognize his sacrifice."

Jon Breeden of the AIR Mobility Flying Feet led a group of active and retired military personnel from Scott Air Force Base. He said that, while the event would seem to be about maintaining physical prowess, that just wasn't the case.

"It truly is a social event. We're all, I guess, what I would call 'stable individuals' so it's kind of a boys' or girls' night out," Breeden said. "You can get out and socialize with your buds."

Not every team's coworkers saw the benefits of the race. Belleville FD Roadrunners captain Gary Frost said the guys in his firehouse question his sanity when they hear about the rolling hills of Southern Illinois.

Still, he won't let that slow down his team.

"Other firefighters that aren't doing it always think (we're) crazy but it is fun to do it," Frost said.

Roger captured Michael walking toward us after the race.

But someone else also saw him and ran over to him.

I would like to introduce my future daughter-in-law, Isabel, who was enamored with Michael. Her mommy ran the race on another team and when she saw Michael's race number on his shorts, she knew he was a runner. Pretty smart for a 15 month old...


Laura ~Peach~ said...

awesome! looks like an absolutely beautiful day and congratulations to the entire team!

Debra w said...


So exciting! Looks like a wonderful day was had by all! Great to see your family out there supporting one another. Tell Michael I said congratulations on doing such a great job. I'm glad that your spoons held up for the entire day. Rest up, today, friend!

Big hugs,

katie said...

very cool! sounds like a great time was had by all. love the pictures!

Your interview was a riot!! oh, that was fun, Ness! Lenny thoroughly enjoyed answering those questions. :)

cyndy said...

Cute future DIL! LOL Glad you all had a nice day.