DAY 69: RACE ACROSS AMERICA-Louis Rodriguez (catching up)

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Posted by Gail Marino on September 01, 2004 at 07:15:48:

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

RAA DAY # 69 THURSDAY 8/19/04

      It is a dark & muggy morning, with very heavy traffic along highway 222, as we leave Kutztown, Pennsylvania & head towards Washington, N.J for 50 miles with a cutoff of 14 hrs 17 min. Olivier is running in the 3rd position & Lou is keeping him company. Taka looks good & gives me the thumbs up. After 5 or 6 miles out, it caught my attention, as I wait for Lou at the aid stop, he & Olivier were running as one. I didn’t see 2 runners coming, as they approached, but  just 1. Their steps &  movements were in unison. I have them watched them run together & separately many times, but today they were so in sinc, that it made me realize, these 2 became more than just friends.
      After 18 miles, it's 72 degrees & Olivier is still hanging onto the 3rd position with Russell about 1/4 mile behind them. Olivier is amazed & still says that he is not supposed to be between Luc & Russell. Lou has been telling him for the last 2 months, "you can run in any position you want to, if you believe this".
      At mile 22, it is a lunch break for Olivier. Russell then takes over his position. So we hang around also, but once in Allentown, we find many mailboxes for our pamphlets. Shortly after, we realize, we now are in a large Spanish Community. That’s great, because we also have pamphlets written in Spanish, that found homes in mailboxes, stores & restaurants & all were very appreciative of the info & of the feat Lou has taken for the cause.
      At mile 27, Satoko shows up with scrapes on both knees & elbows. She told me, she fell on the ground getting out of the car. She cleaned it up & alas, my nursing skills come into play, as I whip out the triple antibiotic ointment from the cooler. The cooler, you ask. It prevents it from becoming liquid, in this heat. Lou is now running somewhere in between Olivier & Kaz.  Kaz is about 2 miles or so behind because Satoko is meeting me at our stops & Olivier is 2 miles ahead because I don't see his crew at all.  
      At mile 30, we come across a 1 way dirt road that is extremely narrow, only 1 car can fit. I find this road very dark & eerie. On the right side of me, there are signs indicating falling rock along the mountain side. On the immediate left, is a downhill that leads to railroad tracks, separated by a cable & metal fence, that has many dents in it. Lining the trees are large webbing of some sort, that my imagination scares me, by creating some sort of bat creature flying around making this webbing. Of course this did not happen. When the road opened up a bit, there was an elderly gentleman sitting on the other side of the tracks, at the edge of his property. He was pointing at me, indicating for me to go the other way. I was waiting for Lou to come. The man sent his son over to talk to me. He read the back of the truck & told me that his dad was afraid of strangers. I reassured them both & they were relieved after speaking to me, that as soon as the runners went by, we would be gone.
      We came across Oliviers parents at 38 miles, they said he was only 15 minutes ahead of Lou. A 1/2 mile later, we were in NJ. I was quickly reintroduced to the famous u-turns in NJ, after a few miles went by & I couldn't make a left turn. I felt almost at home. By 40 miles, Lou was only 1 mile behind Olivier. At 41 miles, they were running together. 2 miles later, Olivier stopped to eat with his family & we went on slowly, but Olivier never caught up. The finish was at Ames Dept. store. Oliviers crew, Alan & I waited for them at the finish line. Lou came into our view & with about 100 yrds to the finish, Lou stopped & sat down on a set of steps. Alan looked at me with a disturbed look & said, "what is he doing"? Dario had a huge grin on his face & laughed because we both realized that Lou was waiting for Olivier. Olivier was about 1/2 mile away, so we waited as Alan steamed. When Olivier approached, Lou stood up & they both crossed the finish line together with hands held high in the air. Oliviers family, crew & I all applauded & took pictures & couldn't help feeling the warmness in our hearts, as we watched the 2 cross Alan's drawn line. Till tomorrow.
Lou & Agnes

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