By John Murray
There was a lot of excitement at the begining of the Kid's Marathon at Crosby High School tonight. Nearly 500 Waterbury children were jacked up to run the final installment of a marathon they had been running for the past two months. After completing a final 1.2 mile cross-country course the students would have finished the equivalent of a marathon (26.2 miles), and would receive a medal from Olympic medalist Rod Dixon of New Zealand.
The runners launched in four waves to avoid collisions, but kids being kids, they sprinted furiously from the starting line. Pony-tails and elbows were flying, and barely 20 yards into the run someone tangled legs with seven-year-old Cameron Raver, and he crashed to the ground with a thud. Cameron is pictured above rolling to avoid the stampede of runners that followed him.
After the runners thundered past Cameron he was helped to his feet, but his left knee was scrapped and slightly bleeding from his tumble to the asphalt track. He limped back 50 yards to the Chase Elementary School first aid box where a bandage was placed on his wound.
All the other kids were out of sight, and Cameron wasn't sure he wanted to run anymore. Someone came up to Rod Dixon, who was helping install the finish line, and told him about the incident. Dixon jogged over to Cameron and asked if he could run the mile with him. With the bandage firmly attached, and no longer faced with running alone, Cameron was all in.
With the nearest runner 300-400 yards ahead, and completely out of sight, young Cameron Raver set off with one of the most accomplished long distance runners of the past 40 years as his personal escort.
With positive encouragement from the winner of the 1983 NYC Marathon, young Cameron Raver decided get back on the track and run.
And in seconds Cameron was off and running in full gear.
They were hundreds of yards behind the nearest runner, but the philosophy of Dixon's Kid's Marathon isn't about time. His slogan is, "Finishing is winning, winning is finishing." He was determined to help Cameron finish.
But young Cameron surprised Dixon with his determination and they caught up and began to pass other runners.
Dixon hadn't planned to run the 1.2 mile course but was thrilled as he and Cameron neared the finish line. They passed more than 100 runners.
Dixon congratulated Cameron on his gritty performance.
The two running mates posed for a picture after the run, and Cameron went over to hang out with his friends. When a reporter asked him about his adventurous run, Cameron said he had been doing really well until his band aid fell off 200 yards from the finish line. When asked if he knew who the tall man running next to him was, Cameron said, "I have no idea."