When Col heard me say I was running at the Lee Army Base in Prince George County for New Year’s Day, she heard Glee.
She figured, in a bad Saturday Night Live skit kind of way, there would be a battalion of young privates singing and dancing to show tunes.
Lee wasn’t anything like that. In fact, the section I went to looked a lot like any cookie-cutter suburban development you might venture into. On New Year’s morning, there were very few people milling about, and certainly no high-kicking chorus lines.
The race started and ended at a community center. Put on by the Tri-City Road Runners, it had an informal and festive feel to it; the starting line was a lamp post and the finish line was a fire hydrant. It was in a predict-your-time format, where the winner is the person who comes closest to guessing their finishing time. No watches or other such devices allowed.
I couldn’t decide if I should go with a pokey 40 minutes or an even pokier 43. I picked 43 and, sadly, finished the very flat course in 40 minutes, one second, well out of the money. If I had picked 40 minutes, I would have been the champ.
Fort Lee houses about 7,600 military personnel and 1,200 families. It is one of 27 military bases in the state.
From Fort Lee, I went on to the historic town of Petersburg, known for the nine-month siege during the Civil War in which U.S. General Ulysses S. Grant choked the city’s supply lines using trench warfare. The South ultimately abandoned the city as well as nearby Richmond, leading to the South’s surrender.
Petersburg was a key hub in the U.S.’s early history. By 1776, one-third of country’s tobacco trade took place in the city. It was also home to one of the first free black settlements.
70 runs downs, 64 to go.