OUC Orlando Half Marathon- 40 Years of  "Why"

By Alan Musante, recently retired Oviedo High teacher, Winter Park resident since 1958, 40-year OUC Orlando Half Marathoner

40 years of this race, 40 more years of my life...how could it go by so quickly?  I started as a middle-of-the-pack runner and have steadily regressed - never fast, but persistent.  There are remarkably few specific memories of the 524 miles we complete this year, but a few do stand out.  That first race, 700 or so of us nuts running from Lake Ivanhoe down Orange Avenue  to Pine Castle and back, I found I could do 13.1.A few years later I did my PR of 1:31. There was a race in heavy rain from Church Street Station, once totally wet it was fun to be sloshing around out there. Getting acquainted with Harry Wessel and Gary Kane at the 35 year point and feeling a part of this very little club has been great.  Getting older and training less has required mental adjustments.  Things I had once viewed negatively - over 100 minutes, over 2 hours, mixing in walking, over 2:15, over 2:30 (see a trend?) have become positives as I realize I'm still there, hopeful, lucky to be able to do it, and enjoying it (mostly).  I've seen how much fun and camaraderie there can be at the slower end.

I'm proud of the three of us; we hung in there with effort and some good luck.  I'm also very proud of my three siblings Linda, Carl and Jim;  all good people and strong athletes in various sports, all faster runners than I.  A big thanks is in order to Jon and Betsy and everyone around Track Shack, all the sponsors, and all the runners and volunteers for the growth of this special, long-lived race that's become such a huge part of this community.  On to the next 40 years!  


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