Bluffton day at the races


You’ve got to hand it to the Reinekes. When they’re out, they’re out in full force. In fact, there were three generations of the family at Saturday’s Rhodes State PTA Club’s Run for the Health of It 5K. Gma and Gpa Reineke (aka Sam and Janette) walked the route with their granddaughter, Joscelin (Elisha and Ben’s daughter), while their daughter, Becky, daughter-in-law, Elisha, and granddaughter, Delaney (daughter of Elisha), ran the course.

Not to be outdone, Sam and Janette’s son, Ben, and grandson, Brock (Ben and Elisha’s son), cheered on the whole crowd — including every other Bluffton runner. Brock’s the best cheerleader!

Okay, in itself, you might think that’s not such a big deal. But here’s the kicker: they all had to scoot back to Bluffton to get ready for the wedding of their niece/cousin, Jenny Reineke…in North Baltimore. I keep wondering if they all wore their race shirts.

Still, they couldn’t leave as soon as they should have; the whole family stayed around for the awards ceremony because Elisha, Becky and Delaney each placed in their age groups. While everyone waited around for the award ceremony to begin, the door prizes were distributed. At one point, Janette whispered to me, “All of us have won a door prize except Becky.”

About two minutes after that, her name was called. She got the prize everyone else wanted — a gas card. Made it worth the wait, I guess — even though in the end, it meant a shorter shower.

Okay, so the Reinekes got their day in the sun…and chill. But they weren’t the only Bluffton runners in the crowd — which made it even more fun. The reason we were all there was mostly because Beth Boehr, a Blufftonite and former art teacher at Bluffton elementary (as is Janette), showed her true colors as a publicist in promoting the race. Beth is a member of the PTA club at Rhodes, and wanted to make sure lots of her friends showed up.

Carrie Phillips and I agreed it sounded like a fun time. Of course, you might not have believed that if you’d heard us grumbling all the way over about how cold it was and why her shoes didn’t fit right and why my butt might start hurting. Like most runners, we like to gripe before the start of a race. Both of us had chugged down some caffeine and were hoping that we could hold out from start to finish without having to make a pit stop at the nearest restroom (we did).

As it turned out, there were others with some sort of connection to Bluffton. I’m pretty sure I saw Randy Spallinger at the check-in, and Caroline Dawson was there — in name only. Too bad, Caroline, someone else got your door prize! Tim Luce-Wireman, who lived in Bluffton at one time, was there.

Then there was the emcee. Okay, this is where I admit my memory of names sometimes (often) fails me. Too often. This guy was the starter and he had an Everett Collier voice. Deep and resonant. The whole time he was running through his starter’s spiel, I kept thinking I knew this guy. But we were off and I forgot about it. At the end of the race, he reappeard to announce the race awards and door prizes.

All Beth Boehr could tell me was that he was someone’s husband and a Rhodes employee. That didn’t do much to jog my memory. It continued to nag….then he called my name and as he handed me the medal, said “Nice to see you, Mary!”

I smiled brightly and mumbled something unintelligible, pretending to recognize him. A minute later, one of Beth’s PTA colleagues identified him and as soon as she started to say his name, I realized why I knew him.

Londell Smith has his own connection to Bluffton — he’s a graduate of Bluffton University’s Graduate Programs in Business. I recruited him. Let’s just blame my memory lapse on the cold.

It was a great ending to a fun morning…reminded me yet again why I love living where I do.

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