The Distance Runner Dynamic


The Distance Runner Dynamic

My mind flashed back to the beginning of the race… we were all bunched together and biding our time, each man thinking his own tactical alternatives, each in easy stride, each believing he could win…

The first wall came at five miles, and I fought the urges that creep into the mind – hey, I’ve been here! Just keep running…the lungs will stop burning…the aches will abate… a simple peace will settle into my long pace…soon, now…keep running!

The first wall gave way, and I felt a serenity, my mind now fully focused on staying with my strategy…I needed to keep the field behind me, to build the distance between me and the rest of the pack…the paper cup of water handed to me I sipped and threw the rest onto my face…

A race official ahead was holding up a sign – ‘Twelve Miles’…twelve miles suddenly became an unreachable goal as the sign triggered another wall I had to go through. This time, the wall brought flames inside my lungs…my pace slowed and my feet seemed to have weights on them…my stomach cramped along with my legs and I felt that this was the race I was not to finish…some kind soul handed me water…then, other kind souls gave me water, threw cup after cup of water on my body and face – now in total denial with my mind…been here, keep going, you can make it…

A gentle zephyr caressed my body and my breathing became not so desperate…I burst through the wall…my chest was now only a dull ache, and I could go on…again, I felt an incredible high, like I could run forever, and, as in previous races, I thought about the damage I might be bringing to my body…thought about my wife and the champagne dinner we would share…

A race official waved another sign – ‘two miles’ – a smile came to break up the grimace on my face…then, I heard the sound of running shoes coming up behind and to the side of me…I glanced to my left, and it was one of the world’s greatest distance runners…for several strides, we were side by side, staring straight ahead at a distant finish line…he moved ahead of me by inches, and I thought to myself, ‘this is my race to win’, not his…I stumbled, almost went down, but, somehow stayed up, somehow reached deep into my soul and miraculously caught up and went ahead of a world champion…

The world champion was on my heels as I broke the tape and collapsed some ten feet ahead.

All of a sudden another body’s arms were wrapped around me, hugging me, patting my back…the world champion couldn’t speak at the moment but he smiled and ran his hand through my hair…after some seconds passed, he turned, lay spread-eagled on his back, glanced at me, smiled again, and said: ‘I thought I had you! What a great race you ran’…we laid there, our breathing little by little becoming more normal…’Guess what!’ he said jubilantly, ‘You broke my record…and, I broke my record…you, my friend, are one tough grinder’!

Flash Fiction by Billy Ray Chitwood – December 4, 2015

I ran recreationally, made it seven miles one time…most usually, one to three miles… I did experience the dreaded ‘Wall’ and felt at one point that I could run for hours. I’m a competitor, but not in the same league as the great distance runners…not even close!

I wrote the above ‘flash fiction’ piece for a good friend, Dr. Timothy Tays, a former great distance runner for the University of Kansas. Dr. Tim recently wrote a book about his races and his life – Check out his book at Amazon and view the many 5-Star Reviews… You will not be disappointed – it’s a book about running but it has some important life lessons… Also, Dr. Tim is a clinical psychologist, practicing in Scottsdale, Arizona, and he helps many people… Here’s his book details:




One last thought… Dr. Tim is working on a new book that he is very excited about…he will let us know when he launches THE CHAMELEON COMPLEX. Please be looking for it…

Dr. Tim is on Twitter – @timothytays

SOME LINKS FOR BILLY RAY CHITWOOD: – My website: bio and books.


8 thoughts on “The Distance Runner Dynamic

  1. Gosh, Bill, you’re so good to me! Thanks for mentioning my book. To put it into context for our friends, when I had my midlife crisis and decided I’d write a memoir (five years ago), I turned to my new friend and neighbor, Billy Ray Chitwood, who had about ten books out at the time. I was impressed and asked him to reveal his secrets. He not only did so gladly, but mentored me through the marketing process that followed. I will always be indebted to you, Bill, and have the utmost respect for your writing accomplishments. “Mama’s Madness” is still my favorite book of yours, and I still think you should see if someone would make it into a movie. It’s very visual and suspenseful, and actually a pretty great mystery book. Anyway, thanks again, Bill. Hi to Julie.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks, Tim, for the kind words…they mean a lot to me. 🙂 ♥ Thought I mentioned this to you, but likely slipped my mind… I received an unsolicited e-mail/phone call from a screen writer some months back who wanted an option on MAMA’S MADNESS…we signed a contract which allows two years for placing the SP, with an option for renewal – if she’s working on a deal at the time. She has been in touch during her ‘screenplay’ adaptation writing, appears to be nearly finished with that particular phase…. She goes through ‘readers evaluation process’ and reports that she has gotten good feedback and compliments… She tells me this is rather ‘dead time’ until the new year but she will be pitching it to producers and those who can make decisions on the movie-making part…then, if optioned out, there will come the process of actor-selection, director, et al. It is all still a out there in time before I hear anything, pro or con, but you know, if good news, I’ll be shouting it with great sunset vigor.
    All my best, good friend. Julie says ‘Hi’ backatcha. HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO YOUR GREAT FAMILY!


  3. What a great story, Billy Ray. I’ve always been a sprinter and don’t think I could do that long run and hit the wall. But this is great and really gives the feeling of the determination and mindset that really goes into this sport 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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