Jun 5, 2012

Distance today = 48.91 km; Total distance = 7318.38 km; Location = Watertown – 44 53.360′ N, 97 08.493′ W; Start time = 0836, Finish time = 1615


Ahhhh, the joys of a cooling wind and a wide shoulder on the road!!! That was the difference between yesterday and today.

I ran out of the town of Clark and past a couple of ‘Historic Site’ plaques (I really enjoy seeing these short explanations of the local history. They are starting to pop up in Australia now too). I learned the story of a little boy who lived on a farm near the train line just outside of Clark in 1888. Every day he used to wave to the engineer as the train passed. The engineer didn’t know his name , and simply referred to him as the ‘Little Fellow’.

This went on until one day in 1890, when the Little Fellow stopped appearing. The train engineer eventually discovered that the boy had died. He was buried beside the train tracks. Each year after that, on Memorial Day, the engineer would stop the train and lay flowers at the boy’s grave. When he passed away, the engineer’s family continued the tradition. In 1951, Rotary took on the role and the tradition continues to this day. No-one knows his real name, but laying flowers at the grave of the “Little Fellow” is unique to the town of Clark.

At about the same time, a local from the town (current population of about 1200) became a lawyer. He went from strength to strength, eventually becoming Governor of South Dakota – one of Clark’s favourite sons.

I know these little historic facts are trivial on the world stage, but reading about such things gives me a much better feel for the region I’m running through.

I later ran through a very nice town called Henry. As always, when I pass through a town with a person’s name, I like to dedicate the occasion to a friend with that name. So, just as Watsonville was dedicated to my old mate Watson from Wagga Wagga, Carmel to Carmel, and Blunt to Roger Sharp, I dedicated my passage through Henry today to Henry Jennings. There will be plenty more dedications to come, so keep watching this space. You never know when I might pass through a town with your name.

Carmel met me later with a scrumptious lunch. I’d like to reiterate what a positive it is to have a support crew. Carmel, and until recently, Libby, have made a huge difference – I would probably be averaging less than half my daily distance without them.