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At the Races

River to Sea 17 – The Eight-Man Team

A few minutes  before the Grumpy Grovers began another River to Sea Relay, the seven of us gathered in a parking lot a few blocks from the start in Milford and talked about the eighth  teammate, the one who should have been running with us but couldn’t. That was our buddy Doug Williams, tragically gone now for 10 months. Then Glen Freyer put out his hand, we all put our hands on top of his, pumped them up and down while yelling, “One, two three, Doug!” And we were off.

R2C is an odd combination of running and supporting. It’s not an event for everyone. But it was an annual event for Doug, who was first one in every year the Grumpy Grovers had run together and had run with me on a team for about a decade. We chose to remember Doug, in our hearts and on our backs, where our singlets memorialized Doug … and one of the many funny episodes he was involved in. Let’s call ‘em Dougisodes. If you could have noticed tears in our eyes before the start, you’d have heard the laughter there, too, and throughout the day as we recounted Dougisodes across New Jersey.

He missed a challenging day on the roads – temperatures that hit 90, high humidity, unforgiving sun much of the day and heat radiating up from the pavement that fried our legs. This was one of the toughest weather days in my 15 R2Cs. But the Grumpsters – in order or appearance Saturday, Paul Kartanowicz, Tom Eaton, Glen Freyer, Harold Porcher, Brian Foster, Mike Skara and me – ran well and were bulwarks of support for one another when the going got very tough. We finished in 10 hours 21 minutes 15 seconds, but as usual the day was more about memories than mile splits.

Phil Coffin




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NYC Marathon Bus

NYC Marathon Bus

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