The following story was supposed to be included in my 4 Bridges Half Marathon recap, found here, but I completely forgot to include it. I guess I was tired last night.
So after the race, my stretching, getting my time, and some refueling, Susan and I started to head towards her car which was parked approximately a mile away, maybe a little further. Parking is a travesty in Chattanooga. There probably is one parking space for every 30 residents downtown. There are a few parking garages, all of which have had at least one rape in them in the last three years according to my sister-in-law. There is a one way street with angled parking spots for cars coming in the opposite direction! So, needless to say I thought it was very fortunate that Susan found a spot this close. So as we were approaching her car, a Buick Enclave (this is important in a second), three fellow race participants approached us.
It was a male and two females, and they proceeded to tell me that they were lost and looking for the Chattanooga Choo Choo. The Choo Choo was one of the shuttle locations, but no directions were given on how the shuttle was going to return patrons to their cars post race! So these three individuals had been wondering around, trying to find the shuttle location or the Choo Choo. I told them that I was from Memphis and had no clue had to get there, but that Susan and I would help them if we could. We decided that since we all had iPhones that we could find the directions so we head towards Susan’s car for the minor detour. I throw my race stuff in the back hatch and we determine that it is about a two and half mile straight shot up the road we are on. As we drive off we talk about how the race went and what brought us to it this year and so on. They were all students of Lee University in nearby Cleveland, TN, and the guy is considering running his first full marathon at the Country Music Marathon in Nashville in April. It was at this point that he noticed that our back hatch was still open! Yep, five people, including the driver, had gone half a mile without noticing that the entire rear of the car was wide open! Of course, once we noticed this we were in heavy traffic on a bridge, so there was no pulling to the shoulder to shut it. We had to continue a little further until we could pull over. Oddly, not a single passing car honked, pointed to the open hatch, or tried to communicate anything to us about the hatch being open. When we able to pull over, I noticed the problem, my water bottle had rolled down into the clasp, so every time the hatch came down, it could not lock, and would open back up. Luckily, none of our stuff that was in the back hatch flew out on the road, I guess that was the good karma of helping out some fellow runners!
Sadly, we didn’t think of getting a picture with our additional passengers until after we parted ways, but we all still have this random story.