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A look at old posters and the meanings behind them

Moe Johnson Running with Moe

A look at old posters and the meanings behind them

Sunday, June 9, 2024

I was looking through some drawers that held some old papers and booklets looking for an old photo album. I had to dig through some papers and booklets to find what I was looking for. What I did find was some old posters that I used to hang in my office. The posters dealt with running and brought back some fond memories.

One poster was the classic Nike photo of some marathoners after a hot day running 26.2miles. A common practice to cool runners off was to have a fire hose shoot water into the air and have it fall like rain on the runners. Several runners were lying down on the pavement, others were just standing still with their head down, but the main focus was a runner standing with his head back letting the water run down his face. Any runner that has entered a long distance race on a Texas hot day can relate to that photo. I have been in 5K and 10K races in July, and friendly neighbors who understood what running in heat is like would stand on the curb with a garden hose and cause a minor rainfall for the runners. There were not many runners that went around that cooling water offered by that neighbor.

The second poster had a title at the top that read, “The race is not always to the swift, but to those who keep on running.” The photo showed a lone runner at the top of a hill looking at a long road ahead of him. The road looked to be over a mile long and the countryside was all green and tree covered with a few cars off in the distance. It reminded me of photos that Robert Bermea took of my Better Half Marathon and the runners coming up Center Point Road all strung out for most of the distance. It was all countryside on a county road that made that race one of the most scenic. Along the route runners had views of cows, antique tractors, red tail hawks and some llamas. Win or lose it was a fun race out in the country.

The third poster was a running poem. The poem was titled, “Why Do I Run?” The poem read like this: “Why do I run? Tain’t no mystery – wanna have a good medical history, Doctor told me runnin’ is great – helps them blood cells circulate, great for the lungs, great for the ticker, can’t nothing getcha in better shape quicker, feels so healthy, feels so sweet, pumpin’ my arms and flappin’ my feet, mold in’ my muscles, firmin’ my form, pantin’ like a pack mule, sweatin’ up a storm, keeps me youthful, keeps me loose, tightens my tummy and shrinks my caboose, beats being’ sluggish, beats being’ lazy – why do I run? Maybe I’m crazy!” For a runner it made sense and the border had comic type drawings of runners in all shapes and sizes and ages. I had quite a number of students stop by and read that poem with a smile.

The fourth poster was one that I could relate to on more than one occasion. The photo showed a runner bent over at the waist during a race and throwing up. The photo caught the runner just as he was up chucking his breakfast. The title of the photo was, “RUN FOR FUN.” Of all the posters this one got the most comments and chuckles from runners that could relate to that poor guy bent over on the side of the road. It brought back a memory of a run I entered over in Shiner with some friends. I knew I was not in the best of shape and my comment to them was, “I am just going to run this race for fun.” I just did an easy pace for most of the race and did a little surge to pass another runner that looked like he was in my age group. Things were going along well when this runner decided to make a fast finish and pass me. My mind set was I passed you a mile back and I am not letting you pass me. We were at least a good quarter of a mile from the finish. Neither one of us was going to get an award since we were way back in the pack. The mind set was “you are not going to beat me.” We sprinted that last quarter mile like we were in a track meet. I managed to finish about one foot ahead of him when I crossed the finish line. As I walked to the end of the chute, my stomach did a payback for putting it through that last quarter of a mile. I did a series of ‘dry heaves’ all bent over. And what are friends for but to remind you that you were going to run this race for fun. And then they asked if I was having fun now. That poster always reminds me of that race, and I fit the image of that runner perfectly.

The posters were down in the bottom of a drawer and I thought maybe I should see if I can find a blank or open wall space to tack them back up. I have different posters now, but maybe I can find space.

San Marcos Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666