Every year, my friend Steph and I paddle the canoe race in Pewaukee known as the River Run.
Every year my Mom and her friend Donna paddle faster than us.
Every year the big sign for the River Run goes up in Pewaukee but this year a small handwritten sign was taped on top of it: “Final River Run”
To which all of us said: “WHAT?”
When we got our preregistration letter we found out more. The Kiwanis Club organizes the race as a fundraiser for the community and they feel they are bringing in too little money to make it worth while. To which I say… well, I say a lot of things to that, but it can be summed up in one short: “Huh.”
Saturday was the morning of the final River Run, a lovely, 40 degree, rainy, April morning. Which was ugly to wake up to but not as ugly as the sleet that fell on us as we were getting our boats ready.
We all hid in our cars with the heaters running until the last possible minute, jumped out, threw the canoes in and started racing.
Fortunately it was no longer sleeting, just raining and really, it was fine. In fact by the time we were ten minutes into the race I told Steph not to worry I was doing great. I had improved to only not being able to feel two fingers on each hand. Things improved even more when the rain stopped and we warmed up enough to throw our winter hats into the bottom of the boat.
By the end of the race I was wishing I had time to rip off my rain jacket and we had only three boats in front of us. My Mom and Donna, just barely still in sight, a man racing a solo canoe and two guys in an aluminum boat. I said to Steph that while I had become accustomed to getting beat by my Mom I was not OK with losing a sprint to the finish to a big ole aluminum canoe.
We dug in, chased them down and passed them by. And let me just tell you, it doesn’t matter that our canoe was a much faster boat then their aluminum beast, it’s still incredibly satisfying to pass up two men in a sprint to the finish.
Unfortunately even our final sprint wasn’t enough to close the gap to Mom’s canoe and they beat us again. It did however place us decidedly faster than John and his friend Steve, which helps makes up for that getting beat by old ladies thing!
A few hours later we showed back up at the finish for the award ceremony, and missed it. Which was surprising because we were only five minutes late and the award ceremony has never started until it was at least 10 minutes behind schedule. Soon we discovered why. The lovely, unvarnished, pine board and plexiglass plaques given as awards had run out. In past years they had always been busily hammering the plexiglass over the fill in the blank paper that makes up the award. No plaques, no hammering, and they were right on time. We picked up our pieces of paper and headed home, completely miffed that the awards we had complained about for so many years had been downgraded to a piece of paper.
Now, let me do a quick re-cap for you. The Kiwanis have declared this to be the last River Run because they don’t have enough participants bringing in enough money to make it worth while. Meanwhile, we woke up early on an extra cold wet, sleeting day, paid our race fee, despite freezing fingers managed to paddle faster than almost everyone else and were given a piece of paper that I’m not even sure I can hang in the chicken coop for our efforts.
Huh, I think sums it up nicely.