Athens, Ala. – Runners of all ages and expertise levels came from around the area on Saturday to participate in the Chick-fil-A of Athens 5K & 10K Race. Among the runners was Nicholas White. After Eric Patterson came on Applebee’s Tailgate Talk to talk about his “Couch to 5K” running program, Nicholas decided that he wanted to jump on the team. After signing up for Coach Eric’s program, Nicholas began attending regular running sessions at the Athens Recreation Center. Initially, the run was very difficult for Nicholas, but over time he improved. On race day, Nicholas proudly wore his neon green team shirt. He lined up on the starting line. All of the coaching that Nicholas had received over the past 10 weeks was about to be used as he made his way down the streets of Athens for 3.1 miles. With all of the excitement, Nicholas started faster than he intended, but after a few minutes he was able to set a steady pace. The hills were a little more challenging than the flat track at the Rec Center, but Nicholas handled them like a champ. Not concerned about those around him, but running his race, Nicholas paced himself and made his way past Athens-Limestone Hospital on Market Street. As he passed Athens Pharmacy, a familiar face came to his side. “Hold your head up and breathe!” It was Coach Eric! Coach Eric had already finished his race, but he came back to support his student. Nicholas began to feel the pains in his body, but he kept on running.
Step by step he was making it closer to the finish line. In the distance, you could hear the announcer saying the names of those who were crossing the finish line a few hundred yards ahead. “Keep going Nicholas! You’ve got this!”, Coach Eric encouraged. Nicholas kept plugging away. About 100 feet from the finish, Nicholas leaned over and said, “Hold my hand.” We locked hands and stepped up the pace as we headed for the finish. “Nick White!”, the announcer said. After 10 weeks of preparation, it had come down to this. As Nicholas was crossing the finish line the crowd cheered! Nicholas had finished the race! April and Cora were standing just across the finish line to congratulate him. After he finished, Nicholas said that he was ready to do another 5K and get an even better time. I believe he will! You can Mark It Down!