At Dexter Middle School, hundreds of runners are already gathered, warming up, stretching, talking to family and friends. Faster runners go to the front of the pack. I amble toward the back.
The starting gun fires, and we are off! Three thousand runners jockey for position not pushing but seeking a spot, trying to get comfortable running. We know we have a long way to go.
During the two miles through the green countryside of Parker Road, we spread out and calm down. By the time we reach Dexter, we have hit our stride and are feeling confident. We get water, hear calls of encouragement from people's porches, and head down Central Street to Huron River Drive.
Ah, Huron River Drive about eleven miles of scenic, winding road along a beautiful river. Around mile 5 we pass a few fans gathered at the corner of Zeeb Road and the entrances to Loch Alpine. The children are on bikes, and the adults have coffee cups in their hands. They cheer as we pass.