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      Finally Crossing the Finish Line By Danner Evans

      I first moved to Lynchburg from Louisiana in September 2004.{} At the time I was training for the New York Marathon so an obvious conversation piece with just about everyone I met was the Virginia 10 Miler.{} "Did you run this year?" was one of the first questions asked.{} Sadly, I was en route to Lynchburg that weekend so I didn't make it for the race.{} I was determined to run it the next year.

      I have no idea what happened to 2005 - but needless to say I had fallen out of training mode.{} It was the same story for 2006.{} I watched the race from the sidelines and thought, "Why didn't I train?"

      2007 was going to be my year!{} I started training for the 10 Miler and The Richmond Marathon over the summer.{} I was newly engaged and thought it would be a great way to get in shape for my wedding day.{}

      A week before the race I ran into a door chasing my cat and broke my pinky toe.{} I could barely walk let alone run.{} I missed my opportunity AGAIN!

      When we decided to move back this year one of my first assignments was Virginia 10 Miler coverage.{} I thought maybe I'd run this year - but wasn't totally committed.{} After all, it was July, I was unpacking our house, getting settled into a new job, blah, blah, blah -- keep listing the excuses.

      I met the Draney family for my first 10 Miler story to kick off our coverage.{} They had run several races as a couple and their girls were going to take part in the Amazing Mile kids run.{} Rene Draney told me I had to run the 10 Miler - I just had to.{} So that day I decided I'd go for it.

      Over the last 6 weeks I've been out there running the hills like a lot of you - hoping to condition myself enough for race day.{} I'd been running regularly in Myrtle Beach - but getting used to the hills in Lynchburg again was tough.

      I've been so excited about this year's 38th annual Virginia 10 Miler I could hardly sleep!{} Packet pickup was magical!{} There were people every where - the kids races sold out and downtown was crawling with runners!{}

      Saturday I jumped out of bed and got dressed.{} I grabbed a jacket thinking it might be chilly - but it was the PERFECT morning!{} I met my sister-in-law, aunt and cousin at E.C. Glass and we started the race as a family.{} That was a very special moment.

      Thing is, those moments kept coming!{} Watching the Blue Ridge Mountains as I ran down Langhorne Road was awe inspiring.{} Listening to the first band fill the morning with music jump started my pace.{} Then, there were the people on the side cheering us on!{} Wow!{} I ran by my family along Langhorne Road - high fived my husband and son.{} Rivermont Avenue was filled with crowds clapping and offering more support.{} Before I knew it I was at the finish line.

      The hills were hard and run was long but I finished with a smile on face.{} 1:18:55 is much better than I thought I'd finish in.{} I can only attribute that to the magic of race day - the crowds, the music and the euphoric feeling of finally getting to run the Virginia 10 Miler.