This page was last updated on: May 1, 2006
"A Letter from a First-Time PDR Racer"

Hi Joan--

What a fun race. The night before it was so miserable out and I never would have guessed when I woke up that the sky would be so clear and the air so crisp. I was luckier than most--my daughter has an apartment at 10th and Cherry. I walked to the start at 7:40 and found my lineup spot. It was right in front of the person carrying to sign that said "Walkers". Running without my wonderful running partner, Christa Farnon, I know I needed to be at the very back of the pack! I went over what Christa and Joan Afleck and Joan Osborne  had told me--"Start out slow, drink water, enjoy the beautiful views and most of all, have fun"--and I did! As one of the slower runners I never expect to see my Fast Track group but when we were down on that first bridge some sweet woman came up behind me and said"Hi, Fast Tracker". She recognized my new spiffy top and socks. I was part of the group.

At one point I ran into Debbie from my "Running 101" group with her friend Pattie and we all remarked how lucky we were that the day was so glorious. I tiptoed through the mud on Kelly Drive. For a while I ran with the juggler and marveled at his skill. I loved the guy with the bagpipes, the guy with the flute playing the Rocky theme. I took water and Gatorade from the end of the line of holders (I like to make them feel useful) and I thanked as many cheerers at the end that I could--they made me feel proud that I did the run. They were still out there cheering even the people whose goal was to get to the finish line running rather than walking.

I ran the whole way. I ran it in 2 hours and 27 minutes by my stop watch. Christa sometimes says that there are days when she can walk faster than I run. This may have been one of those days. Even though Christa didn't physically run it with me, she was with me the whole time. Two years ago Joan, you set me up with a "running mentor" when I did "Running 101". Christa kept calling and encouraging me. She invited me to run with her some time. I politely refused. She was relentless. She wore me down. I told her I was too slow. She insisted we could do it. We ran at Ridley Creek. Sometimes we ran at Betzwood. She became more than a "running mentor", she was truly a friend. We told each other about our families. Our husbands walked in one 5k race and enjoyed each others company. I actually looked forward to running with someone. We did Broad Street and suddenly I thought maybe I could do The PDR. Christa said she couldn't but once again, she encouraged me in such a way that she made me know that I could do alone.

So I ran this race with Christa on my mind and in my heart and I knew she was sending me "good energy". She was the first to call when I got home. Now that's a "running mentor"!

The tailgate was wonderful--once I got there. No one, I repeat, NO ONE, knew where "Spring Street" was. They sent me in the direction of Chestnut Street and of course, no one in that direction had a clue. I went back to the finish line and finally found a policeman who pointed me in the right direction. It was so close! I got a ride from Andi and Harry and was grateful they had waited for me. I heard how wonderfully they ran and we all felt like we had accomplished our goals. We ate all the scrumptious food and enjoyed all the happy people.

Today I'm a little sore but not bad. Actually, I feel great. Friday I'll run again with Christa. We'll think about running other races--probably Broad Street next year. We'll be running together and that's the real treat.

So Joan, here's a cheer going out to you for making me feel like I could do this--should do this. Fast Tracks is all about all of us running together--even when we're in the back of the pack. We're still running together. Even when one of the members just runs with you in your mind and heart. Thank you Joan for making that possible for me.

Fast Tracks, you rule!

Pat Christensen