Rubber soles push down on the asphalt ground as if they were trying to crush the very core of the Earth. Looking behind me, beyond the strand of a single hair that managed to fall from my ponytail, I can see the others as they try to catch up with me. I see their sweat and anguish. I see their determination. It makes me smile.
I’m the one they have to catch up to.
I’m the one in front. The one that will win this race.
I have to win this race.
Nike shoes continue to try and crush the ground as they land flat. My arch barely rolls off the surface and to the observer it might appear as though I’m skipping a few steps. As if I’m so fast, I don’t need to always come back down to the ground.
My eyes close as I can feel the breath tighten from my lungs. But I imagine that I don’t need to come down every step. That instead of a hard, black top ground that I’m running on…I’m running on air. Light, cooling and refreshing air. My lips press into a smile at that calming thought.
The thought drowns out the cheering of the crowds watching us. It drowns out the pounding of my feet. It drowns out the beating of my heart which seems to accelerate with every step I take.
I force myself to go faster even though I’m already in the lead. And I’m not sure how, but my arms push down a little further and my feet step a little higher, which allows me to go a little faster.
With this obvious increase in speed, the crowd cheers louder as they can see I can move faster. Their electrifying energy fuels me. I find myself going even faster with every cheer I can make out. And then, it hits me as I make another lap around the track.
This is why I run.
Some people run to burn calories. Some people run for fun. But no, not me. I run for them. I run for the cheers. The yelling. The screaming of my name. I can hear my name now and I smile even louder. They want me to win. I want to win. No, I need to win.
I don’t bother to look back anymore. I keep on running. I try to focus on my goal: winning. I can feel it now as I near the end of this lap. I’m almost there. Just a few more steps. I grin as my eyes open and I know I’ve done it. Still, I don’t look back. Not even when I feel the red tape break as my chest hits it. There is an eruption of cheers and yelling as I made it. I won.
But finally, after a trophy is handed to me, do I look back. And, not to sound heartless, but I wish I hadn’t.
I didn’t even know her name. But when I looked back I saw that one of my competitors had fallen. Not just passed out. But fallen from life.
The smile of victory quickly turns to a horrified shock. My lungs were still burning from the race. I shove my trophy to someone I don’t even know and demand the ambulance paramedic to explain what happened. He said she was pushed too hard.He said her heart gave out. I asked him why she was in such a race then. He said maybe she just wanted to win at something before she died. He said nothing else, but he didn’t have to.
We both knew it was because I pushed them too hard. Me and my shoes, we pushed them too hard.
((Feedback welcome ^^ I’m not a runner so hope I did okay lol. I going to try and do more one-shots! My first one so hence the suckyness lol))