Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Conclusion of the Relay Race

Race continued…
Our team was doing so great. We were passing girls teams, and getting well deserved encouragement from the teams that passed us. When we were up to our last 12km, our boys team finally passed us. We were hoping this would not happen at all, but at least it was at the end. The Peace Corps boys, Toa Pisi Koa, deserved it. Their legs were moving so fast it was impressive. We knew how tired we were, and it was amazing how they kept going.
We didn’t just have the boys team’s support and the other teams, we also had so many people cheering us on. In some areas, people were lining the road offering us drinks, are just cheering us on. The Peace Corps staff also came out to encourage us. Our country director, Dale, came to cheer us on during the run. Our Medical Officer, Teuila came to cheer us on, and check on our little medical issues that we had during our long race. Denise, another member of the staff, and her family also were cheering us on from their house. Their support kept us running.
It wasn’t just Toa Pisi Koa that was impressive, the girls on my team were remarkable as well. We all stepped up for each other when we needed it, for verbal encouragement, or stepping up to run a little bit extra to help a fallen teammate. I know hearing their loud voices screaming for me kept me going when I felt I could not go any further. Rachel’s knee completely went out on her last run. She tried her best, but could only walk, and that was in pain. Corina was quick to jump out of the vehicle and take her place, while Kaelin picked up an extra run. After running four times already, I was amazed how her legs kept moving so fast the entire time.
We all jumped out of the car on the seawall to finish the race with Kaelin. When we got to the finish line, I was amazed at how many people were there to support us crossing. My parents were there, along with many other volunteers, and friends cheering us on. We felt as if we were heroes and did the impossible with how everybody treated us. A few more teams came in, and we cheered them on.
I was about to leave and shower before the awards ceremony, when the man who ran the relay by himself came in. After running 64 miles, he was now limping, but I was amazed about what his body could do. I stopped and applauded his strength before heading to the hotel to shower.
An hours later, we were back at the government buildings for the awards. They first announced Toa Pisi Koa won in the volunteer category. They accepted the trophy. (All trophies had to be given back at the end of the day to put a plaque for next year’s winners to be impressed with the speed.) The firefighters won the Service Category. (They took their trophy last year, and since it was not returned, there was no trophy to give out.) A Samoan team won the boys trophy, and then came the announcement for the girls teams. There were several girls teams, and we thought we had won, but were not positive. They started with third place and worked their way up. I held hands with the other girls as they mentioned the third place team. It wasn’t us. Then, the second place team. We weren’t them either. We wanted to jump up screaming before they mentioned our names, but we held back.
Finally, they said Kenie Kope was the winners. We all jumped up screaming showing so much emotion. We ran for our trophy and our prize. While we were collecting our prizes, the announcer was talking about our team name. Laughing about us being fast girls.
Finally, they announced the overall winners, Toa Pisi Koa. We were so proud of our Peace Corps brothers. They had done amazing and deserved it. What was better was we swept the relay standings. It wasn’t 1-2 overall, but the boys got first overall, and we were the fastest girls. It was definitely an impressive feat. Especially, there was only one person who had ran multiple races before, 2 of us had ran only one other race, and 3 of my teammates were running in their first race ever.
There were refreshments after the awards. I talked with my friends, and many of them congratulated me on my work. I thanked my friends who were on the Hash team for their support. They had so many cars supporting their team and they were always there calling my name out, letting me know how great I was doing. They even poured water all over me on the heat of my last run.
The following week, my legs hurt every step I took, however each step reminded me of how big my accomplishment was, and it made it worth it.
Next year we will do the run again, minus Erin, and I know we will be just as successful. Group 83 Samoa, get ready. We need you for next year’s race to do another sweep!

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