With a little over a kilometre left, fatigue starts to set in. I’m wailing with my arms to keep my legs going but my heart and lungs are wailing back all the more.
In my periphery I see her. Clad in a triathlon suit, her movement remains solid and does little if anything to betray the toll the race has taken. As she passes me I muster the strength to urge her onward.
An admonishment barely audible between gasps. But my message is still received. My new friend turns back for a split second and with a wide beam smile thanks me before resuming her plunder of the racers ahead.
I hang on to her with all I’ve got. My eyes start closing as we hurtle past road pylons. My mind disassociating from the abuse I wreak on my own body. We overtake runners together, her leading, me following. A sharp right and another sharp left as we each position for the inside lane. More runners succumb to our chase as we charge the finish.
Triumphantly we are done. Me immediately after her. She would claim 2nd in her division while I would settle for 4th in my own.
We did it. As individuals. And as an impromptu duo. I pushed her just as she pulled me.
Turning to congratulate and thank one another she introduces herself.
My new friend’s name is Katherine.