Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Shocking Scenes from a Red-Dress Run

The Westside Runners are different from any group that ever attracted my attention, let alone my participation. There are no officers, no bylaws, no membership list, no dues. And no one is taking names. We simply meet at six p.m. every Wednesday in the parking lot of Foothills Running Co. and go running. Running alone, together with the fellowship it provides, holds the group together. That's it. Jennifer Hackbarth usually brings drinks. No committee makes recommendations; no one appoints a committee. Runners range from the very accomplished to the beginner, from 13-time Ironman finisher Susan Ford to her husband Ivan, who started as a walker and worked up to his first race recently, an 8K. Everyone is welcome. No charge.

"I've found out that when a man in a red dress runs into the street, the traffic yields."

Occasionally someone throws out a suggestion, as Josh Hite did late in May. His idea: have a red-dress run, sometimes called a hasher run. We make decisions easily. And so on the sixth of June, National Running Day, we found ourselves in red dresses following Josh's chalk marks, some which were correct and some which were meant to mislead. We ran across town, wherever the marks led. They led to bars, three altogether. In the process we scandalized the motorists of Cookeville.

The following is a story in pictures of three miles, three bars, and a million laughs, Cookeville's first red-dress run. Photos collected here were made by a number of runners - some by me, some by Jennifer Scarlett, some by Mike Lepley. Photographers of some pictures are uncertain.

With me is the sweetheart of Westside. Jennifer Hackbarth is our sweetheart and leader, too, and an arm full to hug. A natural leader, she leads without appearing to even try. She does it by such things as being generous, considerate, energetic, enthusiastic, mindful of birthdays, etc.

Hasher Garvey reporting, ma'am.

Four guys: Rick, Dallas, Josh, and Mike get ready to rock.

My sweet buddy Chaz preparing to run.

Accessories and color coordination are important to Lady in Red.

Lovers welcome. Jennifer S. and Shane catch a pre-run smooch.

Jill Smith doing a good job concealing her embarrassment at her old dad's antics. She said she was never wearing that dress again, that she looked like a barrel with legs!

The pack of hashers heading east on First Street, following chalk marks. They would eventually reach Char's, but they didn't know that then.

Whole group having a party on patio at Char's, Putnam County Criminal Justice Center appropriately looming in the background.

Our two Jens: Jennifer S. and Jennifer H. Or JEN2, as Jennifer H. remarked.

Second bar was Spankies, where we lifted still another glass or two.

She's our leader! Jennifer can pick you up like a sack of feed, slam-dunk you through a ten-foot hoop, and then punt you into the tenth row. Granted, I knew she was strong. Granted, too, even at my off-season heaviest, I still go as a welter-weight. Still...try jerking up 140 pounds, which she easily did, all to the surprise of myself and to the delight of other hashers. At Spankies.

Love endures all. Rick and Susan leave Spankies and head toward what turned out to be Crawdaddy's, the third bar on our run, which was also near our starting point. At Crawdaddy's the run broke down altogether and and turned into a full-scale party.