By Timothy Sullivan

Intown Runaround is not a political forum. So what is a columnist to do when politics come crashing into his milieu in the form of a vice presidential candidate lying about his marathon time? He speaks out. He restores order. He dashes the braggadocio with a strong affirmation of the pride, humility and decorum that govern the recreational runner!

For those unfamiliar with the story, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, who is known for his physical fitness prowess, was asked what his best marathon time was and he replied “two-fifty something.” Runners World magazine dug up the results to find he was a smidge more than slightly off and that his actual time was 4:01:25.  Not to say there is anything wrong with running a 4-hour marathon at all but we don’t do that, Paul.  We just DON’T! Were this golf and had he claimed to have shot a 68 when his actual best score was an 88 even ol’ Boehner would be choking on his Merlot.

So there you have it, one more entry to the scritti politti firestorm in response to Representative Ryan’s “misstatement.”    Now, where was I?  Oh yeah, one thing among many that I love about fall in Atlanta is that it is the unofficial neighborhood 5k season. Not only are people training for and participating in all of these great events, the communities are coming together to put them on.  In most cases the proceeds are funneling back into the neighborhood for further improvement.  It elevates the recreational runner to the vaunted status of Citizen and they get the t-shirt to prove it.

This past Saturday morning I cranked up the theme from Chariots of Fire, Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” and a collection of pop tunes that my kids like to dance to as the Reynoldstown 5k passed our house. We danced and cheered and clapped for every runner who came by and the enthusiasm was welcomed and bounced right back our way.

A 5k is like a steady stream of stories. Some are hoping for a PR while others are hoping to complete their first race ever.  I saw a buddy of mine who has fought his way back from shoulder surgery a few months ago near the front of the pack…I saw some older neighbors grinning and strutting as they knocked out the miles…I saw a speedy guy from my running club who could have won the thing outright but instead was pacing a few friends hoping to finish sub 20 minutes for the first time…I saw the publisher of this very paper, leaving cancer in the dust.

I don’t want to overstate anything but really, can I? Is there anything more inspiring, more American, than taking part in your local 5k?  There are a plethora of events this month but if you are looking for the Runaround to do your scheduling for you then circle these ones on your race calendar:  Oct.6 is the Greater Atlanta Homebuilders Association Green Awareness 5k at Georgia Tech;  Oct. 13 is the Candler Park Fall Fest 5k; Oct. 20 is the Run Like Hell 5k at Oakland Cemetery; and Oct. 27 is the Inman Park Beer Chase 5k.

And this is probably as good a time as any to plug the race I direct on Nov. 3, the Romp and Stomp 5k in Cabbagetown. You can take all those warm and fuzzy feelings you have right about now to and get yourself on board for the event.

Lace up those kicks folks!  Leave the politics alone for a spell and enjoy.

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Collin KelleyEditor

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.