By Win Htet Kyaw
“There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy, and the tired,” wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby, one of the greatest works of the American literature. How is the quote relevant to my volunteer experience at the Griffith Park Trail Half-Marathon on the 17th of November? I might be taking it a little bit out of context, but on every reflection, I find it nothing but precisely applicable to the events surrounding the Marathon.
-Who–or more appropriately, what–was “the pursued?”
-The finish line of the race course, which must be reached within the time frame of 5 hours.
-Who were “the pursuing?”
-Male and female runners of all ages (some as young as 17 and some as old as 70).
-Who were “the busy?”
-Aid stations, one of which was made up of eight AGS members (including myself), whose various duties included filling small plastic cups with water or the energy drink we brewed right before the race started at 8:30 am; enthusiastically greeting runners with the thirst quenchers and saying words of encouragement; making PB & J’s and cutting them neatly into one-bite chunks; accommodating the Marathon participants with fruits and snacks; strategically setting up trash bags a few feet away from the aid station so that runners could just snatch snacks from the table and dump trash in the bags; and, last but not least, engaging in friendly conversations with the competing athletes.
-Who were “the tired?”
-The runners, of course. Imagine how tired they would have been, running approximately 15 miles altogether in one single morning. Make an imaginary scenario where you run from Pasadena City College to Griffith Park non-stop. Imagine again how exhausting it would have been to reach the finish line in roughly one hour and twenty minutes. This, in fact, was proven possible by a 24-year-old runner by the name John Mering, who passed through the tape that designated the finishing line at 9:51, almost 3 and a half hours away from the closing time of the race course.