I almost forgot to tell you this.
See that green medal in the photo? The one almost hidden by the gold and scarlet Marine Corps Marathon medal? Dianna asked me about that when she saw another photo of me after the race.
Well, Jeanne, who raised money in the MCM for the Organization for Autism Research, said I, Richie, and David could drop off our gear bags at the OAR's tent in the race's Charity Village. Much easier than hoofing it to the regular gear bag area, which was a mile or so away.
The OAR contact gave the okay for us to do that, she said. There were only a few other people in the tent when I arrived, and they seemed busy. So I dropped off the bag without talking to anyone, then jogged to the race start with only minutes to spare.
After the race, I went back to the tent to retrieve my bag. I was tempted to grab some pretzels, oranges, and water from a table groaning with food and drinks for runners. But they weren't for me. Then the OAR dude-in-charge walked up with a big smile on his face.
"Congratulations!" he said, beaming. "And thank you so much for running for us! We really appreciate it!"
Then he ceremoniously placed a green OAR medal around my neck. I mutely gazed at him, shocked.
"Now, go over there," he said, pointing to a big sign listing the race's OAR charity runners. "Find your name and check it off, and we'll take a nice photo of you."
Next to the sign was a volunteer enthusiastically taking photos of a real OAR charity runner.
"Uh, thank you! I will!" I said, smiled, and ducked my head. I was too embarrassed to tell him that I was a fraud. That I did not raise money and run for his organization. And that the only reason why I was there was because his tent had free space for gear bags.
He stood there for a moment, uncertain, then must've figured that I was tired. So he turned, walked a few steps away, and started talking to other race volunteers.
I grabbed my bag, nervously glanced back at him .... and hightailed it out of there, stealing away like a thief in the night.
Needless to say, I have since made a donation to the OAR.