Here's a lesson for runners who aren't used to picking up awards at races -- always be prepared for a surprise.
Last week I took part in the Running Water race in Amherst. There was quite a big crowd there. I ran the race, had a quick lunch, and headed home for some chores. But I didn't wait for the results to be finished. Oops. Turns out the people in my age-group were elsewhere, because I finished first - out of two - in the bracket. The chores could have waited, darn it. Remember, you can only run against the people that show up.
Meanwhile, the good runners obviously were at the Grand Island Half-Marathon. It was a News' runner of the year race; here's the way the standings look so far.
There are plenty of chances this weekend to win a medal, according to the calendar from buffalorunners.com. Be sure to hang around for the awards ceremony:
* Sedita Dragon 5K, 21 Lowell Place in Buffalo, 6 p.m. Friday, 316-5782.
* Cummins Run for Literacy, 509 Cherry St. in Jamestown, 9 a.m. Saturday, 484-7135 x236.
* Holland Tulip Festival, Holland Speedway, 9 a.m. Saturday, 537-2264. This is a little too early for me, but I always liked the idea of starting and finishinig on the speedway.
* Nancy Price Memorial 5K, Veterans Park in Youngstown, 10 a.m. Saturday, 531-1216. This race continues to be a fixture. Wonder how many times Matt Glynn has won it?
* Heritage Centers Foundation 5K, 101 Oak St. in Buffalo, 10 a.m. Saturday, 856-4202 x1228. Speaking of fixtures, this always qualifies.
* DeSales Race for Fitness, 5K, 6914 Chestnut Ridge Road in Lockport, 10 a.m. Saturday, 438-2014. I know there are people who try to do two 5Ks in a Saturday morning. It will be difficult this week.
* Save the Drama for Your Mama 5K, Weeden Road Park in Randolph, 10 a.m. Saturday. Best title for a new race in years.
* Crouse 5K Challenge, 5K, 100 Legion Dr. in Gowanda, 6:30 p.m. Saturday, 860-8782.
* The Elephant Run, 4 miles, Delaware Park's Marcy Casino in Buffalo, 9:30 a.m. Saturday, 836-7045. The postrace party concentrates on breakfast, which is nice. And the event is early enough for people to take Mom out later.
--- Budd Bailey