I pity the kid, a sophomore at Rockhurst, running in the JV Cross Country race on Saturday Oct 11th in Kearney, MO, home of Jesse James. And just like Jesse James, he was taken down, from behind, unaware until it was too late. The killer/stalker/victor? None other than our own Sarah Kathryn Murphy.
In the JV Race, the girls and the boys run at the same time, and trust me, the boy's don't want to be beat by girls. Sarah did great: not only did she come in 15th place for the girls, she beat a bunch of boys, including 4 from Rockhurst; a Sophomore, two Juniors and a Senior.
This is a picture of the finish area--with about 50 meters to go, Sarah was a few strides behind this kid--probably an nice guy out running because he wants to stay in shape, to be on the team with his friends. He had no idea he was being stalked.
Sarah hit the afterburners and caught him in a few strides, he looked over, panicked, ran faster, which made Sarah run harder inside his left shoulder all the way to the end, where she had to jut to the left to go into the girls chute and he to the boys chute. She clipped him at the end, and was I proud. He was not sure what hit him, or blew past him.
Sports make girls/women strong. Strong in heart, body and mind. Nothing was going to keep Sarah from mowing down people infront of her in the last 50 meters--she's done it in every race. This will be a great metaphor for her life--run her pace, then run even faster, doing something that she wants, and enjoying the result. She is gracious in victory, but ruthless in it's pursuit.
Believe it or now, Kearney, Missouri is one of my happy places, joining the Plaza, Okoboji, Lidia's and the 4th Street elevator in Dubuque, Iowa. Not only did Sarah have a breakthrough race, Ryan also had his best ever race on this same course his Sophomore year. He was running in a group of 4 other kids all race, then I lost sight of them in the woods, and coming around a corner out the woods he was all alone. He powered up the hill where I was watching like a motorcross rider down-shifting to surge up the hill. Now I've seen Sarah excel at the same place.
Sarah and Ryan will both go places in their lives because I've seen them learn firsthand that they can overcome pain and reach beyond what they thought they could do. It's the lesson that every parent wants for their children to learn on their own. I am one proud papa.