Some time ago I created a blog to share my running experiences with others. I have done very poorly at keeping a steady stream of posts and every month I promise to do better – I continue to fail significantly. I am still hoping it will eventually stick – please be patient.
With that being said, I want to share with you my Owensboro 10 miler experience from this past weekend. A race that I nearly missed turned into a very tearful 2 hour ride that would leave me feeling so many emotions.
The trip started out as normal as any other – up early and flying around the house like a mad woman to gather my belongings, then out the door with toothbrush and shoes in hand. Someday I will get the hang of this running thing and actually put my “flat Tammy” out the night before like normal people – or maybe not, lol.
Anyway, I settle in and get the cruise set for the 2 hours journey from Louisville to Owensboro. I search the radio for some uplifting music to get the blood pumping and to keep me awake at 5 AM but no such luck, so I stumble on some Saturday morning talk radio – not what I had in mind but lets see what this guy has to talk about.
The gentleman speaker began to tell a story about a crash that occurred some 30 years ago. He has captured my attention and I was listening intently to what he had to say. He went on to talk a bit about his life as an instructor at Evansville University and a bit about the history of Air Indiana Flight 216, a tragic crash that occurred on December 13, 1977. I sat there, cruising down the highway, listening to the narrated story of how the plane crashed within seconds of take-off. Drying my eyes did very little to help, the water works just kept coming as if it just happened that morning. Part of me wanted to change the station but the other part of me wouldn’t dare let that happen.
I continued to listen as he shared the story of how all but 1 member of the 1977 Purple Aces Basketball team were on the plane and all aboard the plane died in the crash. As if this was not tragic enough, just two weeks later the only member of the basketball team who was not on the DC-3 was killed after being hit by a drunk driver. The entire 1977 Purple Aces Basketball team was gone.
I have lost many loved ones in my 45 years of life but today I was crying like all of these players, whom I didn’t even know, were my own family. My mind wandered to visions of young men playing basketball, earning their achievements, and the joyous lives they lived. I couldn’t help but want to hug their parents and pray for their nightmare to end. This went on for much of my ride.
I finally made it to my destination – Owensboro 10 Miler. I arrived a bit early due to the hour time difference that escaped me, but it was a very good thing as I needed some time to pull it together and get ready for the race. I spent a few minutes upon arrival to reflect in silence on my ride and how truly blessed my life is.
Before the race start, I say a little prayer of thanks for my tearful ride, my safe travels, my blessings as a runner. and for the 1977 Purple Aces Basketball team. While their lives were taken far too soon, the tragic story of these young heroes should never be forgotten.
Without dragging this out too far, I had met two other Mom’s from the MRTT running group – a group of wonderful runners that brings my life so much joy. I was still in a blur upon meeting up with my fellow running Moms but was happy to see them. Truth be told, I was still in a blur through quite a bit of the run but it was a blessing to be running.
As many of you know, it is a personal goal to run a race in every county in Kentucky – yes you read correctly – all 120 counties. The Owensboro 10 Miler marked Daviess County from my list.
We all had a great run and finished strong. I finished the race and took first place in my age bracket. A fellow running Mom took second in her age bracket. While the race finish was far more than I could ever hope for, I can’t help but think about the young men who never had the chance to finish their goals. These young men I never knew were far more than basketball players, they were heroes to all who knew them, and to so many that have followed after them. They are heroes to me.
The movie of this tragic event will be released later this year, and you can bet I will be crying through the entire viewing. If you have any interest in seeing the movie, it is called From the Ashes. On a side note, I have no ties to this movie, other than personal interest.
Happy running! Count those blessings!