I begin this post with some consternation, some preamble, and a warning. In it, I relay events that I witnessed this weekend while participating in a local 5k event. Don’t worry, it is not another boring post about running, the race is just the setting for a disturbing story about man’s inhumanity to man. It is a story about the callous disregard of some for their fellow man and it is a story of triumph. Fair warning, some of what I will relay is offensive but, alas, true.
Just a few days ago I saw online that there was an annual 5k down at the beach just minutes from my house. I planned to do a speed workout on Saturday and I thought this would be a good way to get my workout and have a little fun too. So I got up early Saturday and headed to the beach to sign up. I like to get to races early so I can beat the rush for signup and the porta-potties. I got signed up and was just hanging around. I began to see a number of distinctive green track uniforms in the crowd and I realized that “Rolling Thunder” was in the house.
If you are not aware of them, Rolling Thunder is a great group dedicated to providing challenged individuals with the opportunity to successfully participate in all levels of mainstream running, walking or wheelchair racing year round. I’ve seen the group at races before and I have always been really impressed, not only by the great work the group does, but by the incredible athletic talent displayed by so many of its members. I am routinely smoked by someone in a green tracksuit.
I did my warmup before the race and time was getting close to the start. I was standing around, just a few feet from the collected members of Rolling Thunder and just a few feet from a group of younger men and women whom I judged to be in their early thirties. They in turn were no more then ten or so feet from Rolling Thunder.
Another man walked up to the people in their thirties while pinning his number to his shirt. Out of the corner of his eye he spotted all the green track uniforms and casually observed to his friends, “Oh, there must be a cross country team doing the race.”
A young woman in the group guffawed and said in full voice, “They’re not a cross-country team, they’re retards.”
I froze. My mind would not allow me to accept what I just heard. I looked at …