The work out sessions of our running group usually take a comfortable course, but in a running contest a battle for seconds has to be fought…
During the work outs it was clearly noticeable that the first run was due on that next Saturday morning. The last long, slow distance run on the athletic track, pace was drastically accelerated. As usual Hans seemed to be pleased to run faster than I did. “If that is all it takes”, I thought, shrugging: “if I am a source for him to run better times…” To his question “Will you be there on Saturday?” I heard myself answering -due to a suddenly uprising thought not to make a competitor any smarter- “I am not sure yet. Probably not.”
On the day of the contest I even proceeded this ridiculous “cold war” by doing my warming up at home and by going to the starting location on the very last moment.
It was curiously quiet at the department point. A woman, a stopwatch still in her hand, explained: “They started a quarter of an hour ago, precisely at ten thirty!” I was so sure that the start would be at eleven o’ clock. The deepest disappointment I demonstrated, aroused her compassion. After a short deliberation with a member of the jury she said: “Do you still want to go? All by yourself?” I nodded happily: “Definitely. I am ready!” As I started on her signal (she pressed a button on her stopwatch at the same time) I heard the jury member joke: “Don’t forget to bring the signposts along!”
During this unexpected, unusual solo race I ran in a restless pace -my heart rate much too fast- due to the fact that volunteers at the finish line had to wait for me. It also seemed to me, that the man on his bike behind me, who collected the signposts, increased his -and therefore my- speed. When I, rather exhausted, finally crossed the finish line, I was just able to thank the organisation for their services and I promised to be in time for the following run.
Before the first workout evening after the race we almost suppressed each other in front of the result list. I was pleased to see my name on it. With a respectable 26th place and an excellent 10 K time. This was not kind of logical to everybody: “Hey!”, exclaimed Hans, “how can that ever be? You -he addressed me- finished two seconds before I did, but I never saw you!”
 The starting location was at only five minutes from my home.