Showing up is half
Generally you can count on two things at a small, New England road race. One, the order of finish will be pretty much determined by the mile mark; “strategy” and “tactics” are not often part of racing so much as “run as hard as you can from the gun until the end.” Two, “I won” is shorthand for “Of the n people in the area who are much faster than I am, none of them came out to race today.”
One of those was true this morning, and fortunately for me it was the second one. There were two other runners who went out aggressively in the flat first mile of the 5-K in Sunderland, and they were 50m or so in front of me at times. But the second mile included a big hill, and one of the few arrows in my racing quiver right now is that I can climb decently well. I passed them both by the time we reached the top and managed to hang on to that lead to the end.
There were all of thirteen people in the race, so the odds that (m)any of them would be faster than me were starting to tip in my favor before the race even started, but I was pleased to hang on to the win. The payout was a $50 (face value) savings bond; given that it’s not the first time I’ve won such a prize, it looks like my road racing career is going to be paying out little windfalls through my late 50s and early 60s.