Kevin Raybur

’s Run Essay, Research Paper Kevin Raybur’s run 1968, Six o?clock in the morning The Olympic village was quiet in its lazy sleep, but Kevin Reybur was already awake, and ready to run. The easy 8-mile morning workout

’s Run Essay, Research Paper

Kevin Raybur’s run

1968, Six o?clock in the morning

The Olympic village was quiet in its lazy sleep, but Kevin Reybur was

already awake, and ready to run. The easy 8-mile morning workout

was only a part of the blonde-haired phenomenon?s training schedule.

Later in the afternoon he would suffer through fifteen miles of

pace-work and intervals on the golf cart paths and quiet streets of

the peaceful suburbs of Mexico City.

Despite his short legs and strong upper body -unusual characteristics

for a distance runner- Kevin was really a man born to run. His

specialty was the 5000 meter event. By breaking the Southeastern

High School Conference record in his junior year, and setting the

national record in his senior year, Kevin had the attention of all of the

college scouts and was offered full scholarships to many Universities.

He chose to attend D.W. Daniel University because they had the best

coach in the country; the one man capable of guiding him to the top.

Kevin was confident that he would not only beat the best, but also

be the best.

With no idea of what he would major in, his reality was different from

most of his university fellows: he wanted to win, and that is the only

thought that consumed his mind and soul. Kevin?s performance in

collegiate meets got him an invitation to the Olympic Trials, and by

winning the trials he earned a spot on the 1968 Olympic team. Just to

represent the country in the summer Olympics in Mexico City was

never his ambition. He had to win.

“It?s six in the frickin? morning Kevin! Where the hell are you going in

this rain?” his roommate Bert cursed.

” The gold is waiting for me and I can?t lose time listening to your

complaints, just because it?s wet outside. I have to work hard to

make up for my lack of pure talent.” Kevin replied.

“Hurghf…” Bert sighed and pushed his head deep into his pillow, as he

would do every morning for the two weeks of the 17th modern

Olympic Games.

Kevin went out in to the bitter morning rain, which quickly soaked

through his lucky golden running cap, and covered his head, which

was full of thoughts only of the rhythmic pattering of his feet and of

the long empty streets ahead. He did not even notice that his toes

were wet and blistered. His shoes, well worn from many punishing

miles, no longer had the cushioning or fit that he needed. A smear of

dried blood on the left shoe marked his latest injury where he got

spiked by Viatcheslav Ekimov of the Russian team in practice the day

before. The rainwater began to wash out the stain and the red tinted

water streaked down over the side of the shoe, mixing with the hand

written black ink of the words “Gold Medal”. The national anthem

pulsed through in his head, faster and faster, keeping up with the

beat of his ever-quickening footsteps. The corners of his mouth

curled up, forming a menacing, devious smile. He owned the road.

Despite his winning every single collegiate 5000-meter race that he

competed in, most people did not believe he would ever make it to

the Olympics. His aggressive, forced stride and his short legs that

had to step quicker than those of the natural runners with long

rhythmic strides, and lean bodies built for speed made him the

under-dog from the start. Also the fact that he was poor and could

not afford a nutritionist or professional level equipment was a real

concern. The university running team was poorly supported, and all

the promised alumni money was used to support the football team,

instead of for hiring a nutritionist and other support staff for the

track team. The only reason that Kevin stayed at UDWD was that Phil

Liggett was the best coach, and best friend that he ever had. Phil

was like a father to Kevin, and was the only person that understood

why Kevin had to run, and why the sport of running needed Kevin.

Phil was a bold, tall man in his mid-fifties that was once a world class

runner, and was now spending his retirement years searching for

talents such as Kevin Reybur. And Phil did a good job: in a year?s time

the twenty-two-year-old Kevin was running like greased lightning,

and taking more records than a junkie in a music store.

As it happened many times during his life, his fierce willpower made

him look ahead and follow his destiny. Winning was definitely more

important than studying. Of course dropping out of college with a full

scholarship in his hand was not the smartest thing to do, so he barely

managed to keep his grades up to passing. But his thoughts were

consumed by running.

The things that Kevin could not get from the team, he managed to

get on his own. Working as a bartender at the college bar was the

best way he found to pay for equipment and healthy food. He would

go to the health center every week and offer to be a test subject for

the student nurses learning how to take blood pressure and

temperatures and get the free test results. He would stay and talk to

the nurses about his diet and ask what he should be eating every

day. After a few weeks of this routine he finally got up the courage

to talk to a young nurse about something other than training and

diet. Her silky long hair flowed over her shoulders to just above her

nametag that read “Faren-student nurse”. It helped a great deal that

he didn?t have to ask her name; otherwise he might not have had the

courage to even start the conversation. He even had the courage to

ask her out. She found him arrogant, yet interesting. And he was a

handsome devil. She gave him a chance, and grew to love him. She

found that he was not an evil person like many people thought at

first impression. His determination inspired her, and she put up with

his need to put training before a social life. She became his girlfriend

and was his full time nutritionist and masseuse. Kevin never realized

how lucky he was.

Kevin returned from his morning run beaming with excitement.

“I?m so stoked, man!” he shouted as he walked into the dorm room.

Bert lifted his head from the pillow and rolled over to see the large

numbers on the clock radio.

“6:45! Man, you were flying today. Did you do the whole 8 mile loop?”

“Hell, yeah! I don?t cut my workouts short like you and the other

loosers on the team. I?m going to kick ass in the finals, because I

work harder than anyone else. I deserve to win.”

“I thought you always went easy in the morning, why were you

running so…”

“Shit! You think that was hard. I?ll show you hard this evening at the

team workout.”

“Man, fuck you, Kevin! I?m gonna just put on a nose clip and some

boots ?cause the shit is just pilin? up in here. I know you?re lie?n out

your skinny white ass, so don?t even try to pull that ?macho bull shit?

on me. Damn, if you were any more…” Bert stopped short. ” Hey

man, I?m sorry, I… enough about running.” He took a shot at turning

the situation around, to ease the tension. “Hey, that French chick I

was talking to in the cafeteria yesterday invited me to a party in east

wing tonight. Why don?t you come too? We?ll have some beers and

get to know some people on the other teams.”

Kevin hung his head, ashamed. He was not comfortable with being

nice to a competitor that he was intent on destroying in only a few

days. They were all his enemies.

“Naw man, I need to spend sometime by myself to get focused. You

should do the same, if you care about your performance Thursday. If

you don?t stay focused, come Thursday?s final those Russian guys are

gonna beat you like a naughty monkey at the Gypsy Ball”

This kind of attitude kept many people from trying to get close to

Kevin. If he knew how to show a little kindness and humility, his

achievements could have made him a very popular star. But no

matter how many races he won, and no matter how dedicated he

was to the sport, he could not earn the respect of his teammates.

Kevin Reybur did not care. He just wanted to win, and for as long as

he was winning the races and his specially prepared menu was still

working, absolutely nothing could bother him. Kevin did not have time

for friends.

Kevin kept pretty much to himself for the few days before the finals.

He looked forward to seeing Faren on Thursday. She was flying in

with his parents to watch his race and cheer him on. He kept to the

meal plan that she had made for him, and slept every hour that he

was not training, eating, or thinking about training and eating… and

kicking ass.

Kevin had done everything that he knew to do to prepare for this

moment. He decided long ago that this was the calling of his life. He

packed away his warm-up suit with his watch and ID tag and training

shoes. He slowly zipped the contents inside, deliberately, as if there

would no longer be needed. It was race time.

Kevin made his way to the start line just like he had hundreds of

times before. But this time it was different. His movements were

mechanical, practiced and thoughtless. He made no notice of any

other competitor on the track. This was not about them. It was

about gold; gold that he had promised himself 15 years ago; his gold.

Time stood still as he was caught by the boldness of the solid white

line before him. “START” was spelled out in palm sized print letters. A

chill darted down his spine, first ice cold, then numbing warm and

fuzzy. A flush came over his face and neck and he became dizzy and

weak. He could hear nothing but the beating in his own heart and the

flood of warm water caving upon him. His knees began to wobble, and

then he remembered to start breathing again. “It?s really happening,”

he said, not to himself, but not to anyone else either. A rush of

freight overtook him. Would they start this race while he was still in

this state of slow motion? He looked up, and around and stood

straight tall and turned round full-circle soaking up the moment and

the energy of the crowd. He breathed deep and yelled at the top of

his lungs with the eyes of a frightened lunatic. He didn?t even notice

that everyone had turned to look at him. At once his head cleared

and he breathed rapidly. His heart pounded, and he cried a single

tear. He was back to the real world now. Sweat filled his brow and

flushed the demons with it. He looked up into the stadium seats and

searched for the American flag. Faren yelled “Go Kevin!” His eyes

followed the voice, and found the flag and Faren beneath it. “Bring It

Home!”, shouted mom and dad standing gloriously at Faren?s side.

“Bring it home.” He mouthed the words back, though no sound came

out.

He looked at the start line a second time, and the monster was no

longer there. Kevin looked straight ahead. The corners of his mouth

curled up, forming a menacing, devious smile.