How many of us can say that our name is the answer to a sports trivia question?
Richard Shaw can.
On April 21, 2013, Shaw put on his running shoes and participated in Bell County’s Army Marathon along with 610 others. The 26.2-mile course began in Killeen.
After running the first of those 5 miles, Shaw, then age 54, led 609 of those entrants.
“I saw that I was in second place and decided to try and catch the guy in front of me — just so I could have somebody to talk to,” said Shaw, during a phone interview this week from Belgium. “It’s good to run with someone, anyone, especially someone with a good sense of humor, because that burns up some of the three hours that you’re running.”
A 13-year employee of the State Department, Shaw is currently working for the embassy stationed in Brussels.
“Last year, I had been stationed in Pakistan, which is a little more dangerous,” Shaw said. “Due to that danger, you get one trip a year, what they call ‘R and R,’ so I took a trip home to race in the Army Marathon.”
Shaw’s home is in Chappell Hill, Texas.
“I could tell right from the start that this was a very special marathon,” Shaw said. “This was a marathon filled by people with integrity. Maybe that’s because it has a lot of Texans or military people or maybe just having both. But before the race, everyone was encouraging each other.
“I’ve run in some other marathons where people lie and cheat. In the Army Marathon, people were honest about where they should start. If they were slow, they moved to the back. The faster people moved to the front. It was the integrity of the soldiers which impressed me the most.”
Once he passed the 15-mile point of last year’s race, Shaw was running alone, well ahead of all other entrants.
“I had been running with that guy who had originally been ahead of me for a while,” Shaw said. “But somewhere between the 5 and 10 miles we ran together, he dropped back. He wasn’t eating enough. He wasn’t drinking anything. He wasn’t replenishing.”
And so the 5-foot-8, 130-pound Shaw kept going.
“I never turned around to see if anyone was close behind me,” Shaw said. “You don’t want to be that guy in the lead of a long race who gets caught 100 feet before the finish line.”
That did not happen.
Shaw won the event, finishing the course in a personal-best time of 2:51.22. That’s two hours, and 51.22 seconds. His nearest competitor was a full three minutes back.
And thus Shaw is the answer to a sports trivia question: Who was the winner in Bell County’s inaugural Army Marathon?
Actually, since there’s only been one race, you can also answer “Richard Shaw” to a second sports trivia question: Who holds the all-time record for fastest time in the history of the Army Marathon?
“True enough,” said Shaw with a laugh. “But I expect that record of mine to be a very short-lived honor. I think if you have some fast young man running, he can beat it. I’m pretty sure someone will beat that time in this year’s race.”
But it won’t be Shaw. He’ll need to remain in Brussels while the second Army Marathon takes place on March 2. “However, I am hoping to come back for next year’s Army Marathon,” Shaw said.
The funds raised by the Army Marathon go to veterans’ charities.
If you’d like to enter this year’s marathon, you can register at www.thearmymarathon.com.
No matter what, by participating you’re helping a worthy cause. And if you’re feeling particularly fleet on March 2 and happen to win, you’d take home a sharp-looking trophy.
And, of course, if you can run the Killeen-to-Temple course faster than 2:51.22 — and break Shaw’s record — you’d get an extra bonus.
You’ll be the answer to a sports trivia question.
Contact Allan Mandell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 254-501-7566 and read his blog on KDHPressbox.com