Eight years ago I did a Warrior Dash in Iowa as a memorial for my mother. (She passed away two days earlier at the age of ninety-nine.)
I doubt that she knew I did it but what mattered was that I knew. I wore a hand printed placard on my back during the event.
Out of about thirty mud runs I’ve completed since I was fifty-nine years old, this was the only time that I ran the whole course (3.2 miles) without taking a “walking break” and was also my best time for completing an obstacle challenge.
Immediately after the race, I cleaned up and Randa and I headed to West Kentucky for Mom’s funeral.
I’ve thought of her in every race I’ve run since then. I think she would be tickled to know how I chose to honor her and pleased to know how much effort I put into that race.
Growing up in the Depression, helping dad farm, raising such kids, and in a hundred other things, she showed the same kind of determination that you can see on my face in this picture.
Another competitor less than half my age was trying to pass me in the mud pit at the moment this picture was taken. They did not succeed.
Winning has never been a top priority for me in athletic competition; finishing the race has always been an obsession.
Mom’s life was never easy, but often happy, and always genuine. No matter how strange it may seem, I think doing a mud run was a perfect way to honor someone like Ruby Arnett.