Pictures at an Exhibition: well not Mussorgsky but Half Marathon With Racial Overtones

These are images of a very tired person running the First Midwest (banks are good for something I guess) Half-Marathon in Palos Heights, Ill. on May 5, 2013. It’s a 13.1 mile jaunt! I returned early from St Louis from a Mary Institute-Country Day high-school reunion. (US spy caught in Russia, Ryan Fogle, went there!) The race was very flat and straight. Run in one direction on a street and turn around. You could see all the faster runners returning. As they began to appear, some were of African heritage. A white-rotund runner in front of me began to yell: “Oh you people…” and then stopped and stifled what might have been a more odious statement. It was clear he was dissatisfied that the “other” non-whites, hmm, maybe real Africans were among the first to finish this south suburban race in apartheid Chicagoland. I said to him without too much truculence, “Hey, they are great runners!” He said, “Oh, I know. Yes!” I am glad the racist runner upset that people of colour were present, did have the presence of mind to abort in midstream a hurtful outburst toward a runner whose skin colour he did not like and that our exchange was brief but polite.

Before the race started, there was a moment of silence for the Boston massacre at their esteemed marathon. The police presence at the Palos race was noticeable but not stifling. Mostly at intersections to keep the cars away. There was some isolation of the runners at the starting point with steel or some kind of metal retainers to keep the “baddies” away but it was mostly show, not substance. The race was uneventful in terms of bombs bursting or other acts of protest, civil disobedience or drone attacks from the air!

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