Racing in the Street
By: Jim Woolfitt
“Summer’s here and the time is right
For racing in the street”
Soon after first hearing that song, I bought the album Darkness on the Edge of Town (on an 8 track tape).
The Bruce Springsteen songs, “Born to Run” and “Racing in the Street” are about cars. Likewise, summer does not officially start for another week or so. Let me explain how I connect “Racing in the Street” to my kind of running.
“Some guys come home from work, wash up
and go racing in the street”
For me running and racing go “hand in hand” just like heat and cold, day and night, salt and pepper. I’m not criticizing runners who don’t race just as I would not disparage those who don’t run. Racing keeps me running. I may not be pointing to a particular race every time I run but I trust the running I do now will pay off “down the road” at some future race. I’m not saying that running and racing define me but they are things I enjoy very much. I bought a pair of racing flats about 10 years ago for two reasons: to make a statement (that I’m not giving up) and for the practical reason that I might run a few seconds a mile faster.
“When the strip shuts down,
we run ‘em in the street
from the fire roads to the interstate”
This speaks to me about adapting and the refusal to quit. When the Greater Fairmont 10K “shut down” (I ran it every year with one exception from 1983 to 2004), I found other races. Similarly, I’m sure a few veteran Huntington runners were disappointed when the Huntington 10 mile race “shut down”. When benchmark times like a 40 minute 10K “shut down” (become a distant memory), I embrace new standards, such as 50 minutes for a 10K. Some day breaking an hour in a 10K may seem good.
“We cover the northeast state and we run from town to town”
Going to new places and new races has helped keep my running fun. Yes, we have good races right where I live. I have tried to support every race in my county (Marion, WV) from practically the time I started running. (Some years we have had only had 3 or 4.) I’ve run races in 15 states including Ohio and Kentucky and in 50 of West Virginia’s 55 counties.
“Tonight the strip’s just right”
Seeing the video of the Cabell Midland runner posted on Runners World confirmed my suspicion that there must be other runners like me who would like to drive a race car. If you know anyone with a vintage muscle car who might let me drive it at the Mason County (WV) drag strip, please contact me. I should warn you that my reflexes are slow and I’m not very coordinated. If the Mason County strip would host a 5K, then I could do two things I like. I would enjoy doing a 5K (or a longer event) and I would like to watch some drag racing. I have been to a few races which had other things going on such as a car show. I could cross Mason County off my 55 county bucket list, too.
Perhaps this should end with a warning such is found on cigarette packs: “Caution: illegally racing a car can be hazardous to your health”. I just identify with what I perceive as the spirit of the song.