DAY 70: RACE ACROSS AMERICA (sorry, received out of order as Agnes catches up)

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Posted by Gail Marino on August 27, 2004 at 12:21:27:

In Reply to: RACE ACROSS AMERICA-Louis Rodriguez updates posted by Gail Marino on August 02, 2004 at 09:02:43:

RACE DAY #70 - Friday, August 20

It is a warm muggy morning as we depart from the parking lot of Ames Dept store in Washington, NJ to West Orange, NJ for 47.9 miles with a cutoff of 13 hrs 41 min. The finish line was still present from yesterday & Alan added on the 3000 mile mark to it. "That is for some of us", as he looks toward Lou. Alan makes his usual morning speech but adds, " there is a mandatory meeting tonight at 8pm for runners & crew". But 1st the press from BBC are here to take pictures of Bob & the runners & crews. We are not included, so we wait quietly until they are finished.
Kaz belongs to an ultra club in Japan & a few of his friends arrived the night before so that they can support him, for these last 2 days. BBC stayed, I believe most of they day to catch film of Bob running. I can see the excitement, as well as feel it in the air. Today is the last official race day. As the runners infiltrated the busy streets, the press busily drove along for their filming. They asked Kaz's friend just not to run along side of Bob while they are filming. He complied with their wishes, but continued running behind Bob, as there were never any restrictions made by Alan for him or any other visitor runner. Lou continued on with Taka, it was another long day, 3 days in a row of 50 milers. And obviously, the longer you are out there, the less rest you get in between the runs. We, as well as Taka & Ryota can attest to this. I know today is only 47.9 miles but for me that is 50.
By 7:30 am, it was 73 degrees with promises of it reaching 93. Some of the roads were extremely busy without a shoulder for the runners but after 2 1/2 months of running under all types of road conditions, they have adjusted. Lou would fill the mailboxes as he ran or walked with Taka & I would fill them on the side roads as I turned around to find parking for the aid stop. But if there were a long line of mailboxes together, I was in my glory as I filled them before Lou got to them. We had our own little fun with the mailboxes & talking to people about early detection.
In Morristown, a man stopped me after seeing the sign on the truck, because he saw Lou running. We actually saw him again a few blocks further up, because he went around town to tell people about this runner. Then shortly after, we met a young woman who told us that she had a large family history of breast cancer & thanked Lou for his efforts. I had forgotton for a while, about the u-turns in New Jersey, but a nice Police Officer reminded me & before he sent us on our way, he expressed his amazement at what Lou has accomplished & the reason for it. Taka made it in about 10 minutes before cutoff.
We had about an hour or so left to get ready before the meeting, so we cleaned out the truck, ordered pizza, & showered before 8pm. The meeting took place at the area they serve breakfast, just past the lobby. We sat at a table behind Alan & Mary & everyone else sat at tables behind us or to the left of us. Olivier & his family sat at a table along side of us. Alan discussed the strategy for tomorrow. The crews will be split up into 3 groups & we will piggyback each other for aid stations, as we give aid to all the runners. All the runners will run Takas pace so that no one will get lost. Then they said as a gift from him & Mary, they have new RAA shirts so that the runners can wear new clean shirts into NY. Mary walked past us 6 different times, to hand out their gift to each runner. Then the meeting was ended. When Olivier told his wife Sophie, that Lou did not receive a shirt, she had tears in her eyes, as she apologized for their rudeness. I shed so many tears on this trip, that I was sure my tear ducts were empty tonight. I can feel the pain in my heart, but I could not cry. Besides, now at 9pm, we have to go shopping to buy supplies for all the runners, because we only had enough supplies for Lou. We didn't know earlier that I would have to aid all the runners. I told Lou to go & get some rest, but he wouldn't let me go alone. I get lost in the daytime, so getting lost in the dark, in a town that I have never been before, would make getting lost very easy for me. Needless to say, he drove as we searched for stores & we didn't get lost.
NY tomorrow. Till then, Lou & Agnes

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