The Race

by Jacob, Age 13

It was a Monday at Columbia High—home to the defending state champions in cross country from the year before. The cross country team was doing a timed two-mile for the first practice of the season, and as usual, Brady Henry was the first to finish with a time of 11:34.

“Better than my fastest time last year,” said Brady. “My fastest time last year was the last meet we had, and I ran an 11:43.”

Then Louis chimed in, “I heard that Marcus from Charleston High ran an 11:20. Apparently, he is a lot faster than before. You might have some competition this year.”

“Who cares, I have a lot more potential and can beat him at the meet,” said Brady.

Meanwhile, at Charleston High, Marcus and his friends are all talking about how Marcus was going to beat Brady and how the team will win the state championship in a month.

“I can’t wait to see how much slower Brady is than me when we figure out his two-mile time. The rest of that team is no good either. They don’t have a chance against us,” said Marcus.

Then Chance started talking, “Guys, Brady got 11:34. This is great. We have to be the favourite this season. We still can’t count out Columbia High though.”

“What are you talking about, Chance? They have ‘no chance.’ Get it? Hahaha! Come on guys, let’s go get our lunch table,” said Marcus.

The first meet of the year had finally come. It was a combination of five schools, including Columbia and Charleston High—and they weren’t talking to each other. The five-minute warning before the race starts goes off. All the teams made their way to the starting line. The starter said his stuff then walked off to the side and shot the gun. Immediately Brady and Marcus were out front.

“You’ll be sad at the end of this, Brady because I’m gonna beat you so bad, ” shot out Marcus.

“ You wish, Marcus,” bounced back Brady.

There wasn’t anymore talking for a while. At the one-mile mark, they had only been running for 5 minutes 30 seconds. Then with about 400 meters left, they’d been running for 10 minutes 15 seconds. Then something was said by Marcus, but not heard by Brady. They both started sprinting, they were neck and neck until Brady pulled away with about 50 meters left. Brady crossed the finish line first. 11 minutes 15 seconds for Brady. Marcus ran the two-mile in 11:19. The only thing that mattered that week though was Louis beating a Charleston runner at the end to get Columbia a first place win overall, with Charleston coming in second.

Over the next four weeks, neither Brady nor Marcus got much faster, each one only improved by about 7-8 seconds on their times from the first meet. Now it was the state championship meet, and the girls ran before the boys. The girls’ race was won by a team no one really knew, but the favourite in the state meet were obviously Columbia and Charleston. It was only 15 minutes before the race, and Marcus started talking.

“You don’t know what’s coming to you, Brady! I’m ready to win. You better be ready.”

All Brady said replied with was, “Good luck.”

About 15 minutes later, the starter said his usual stuff then walked off the side and wished everyone a good race.

The gun went off. About 20 people sprinted out with only about five in the front pack. The fastest two being Brady and Marcus. Nothing was said because it wasn’t just Brady and Marcus up front. Then two racers fell behind, and it was only one other kid with them. Then with 500 meters left, the runner threw up off to the side and jogged the rest of the race. Now Marcus started talking.

“You’re done when the last 100 meters comes!”

Marcus didn’t have enough breath to say anything else, and Brady didn’t want to talk. It was time to run. Brady sped up, so did Marcus. They were neck and neck until the finish. It was a tie! What mattered now was how the rest of their own teams did. This time, just like the first meet, it was Louis against a Charleston runner. The Charleston runner was Chance. Louis had more in him though. He started to pull away with 20 meters left and beat Chance by two seconds. Columbia had won the state championship!   THE END

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