Purple Striders Stride On

Lots to talk about today.

We could go negative.  We could talk about the NFL’s asinine new “no bags” policy, the demise of the Washington Examiner, or the invasive PRISM policy (and America’s apparent apathy at the continued erosion of privacy rights).

But let’s stay positive.  Today, under a beautiful blue sky, about 4,000 runners and walkers turned out for the “Purple Striders” 5K for Pancreatic Cancer Survivors.  I was there with over a hundred friends.

A word of background:  many years ago, before law school, I was a teacher in Osaka, Japan, teaching English to Japanese children.  This was pre-Internet Age, i.e. the early Nineties. When you lived overseas in those days, you had no contact with the USA.   You lived in a foreign world.

Inevitably, you became friends with other teachers:  Americans, Irish, British, Canadians, as well as with local Japanese.  We traveled, played sports and drank together.  (I joined a Japanese rugby team which played matches in the shadow of Osaka Castle).   Spending time with friends was our only entertainment.   There was no digital world.

Since that time, we have maintained an alumni network for those of us who lived in Osaka back “in the day” and their spouses, children, and friends.  Together, we have traveled back to Japan, taken a guided tour of Ireland, and spent weekends in Maine.

A few months ago, one of our number contracted pancreatic cancer.  Her husband and family summoned us to D.C. to run on “her team” in the Purple Striders 5K this Saturday.  From an initial email, an international movement happened.  When the smoke had cleared, we had 102 participants who had raised over $33,000 to run/walk the “The Purple Striders” race in her honor.

Last night we gathered at “The Public House” in Tenleytown to reminesce and toss back a few pre-race beers.  To get there, we came from the West Coast, from North Carolina, from Boston, from Fairfax City.  (Yes, that was my wife’s minivan parked on Wisconsin Ave.  Deal with it).

Fast and flat.  No, not me.  That was the course this morning down Pennsylvania Ave, past the Capitol, and back to Freedom Plaza.  Despite (because of?) the indignities from the night before, I felt good the whole way and finished in 22:38 for five kilometers.

More importantly, the Purple Striders was a chance to gather together and support a friend.  Kampai!

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