Temperatures were in the 60s, the ocean waves were gentle, and the sky was a sparking blue on race morning at Plyler Park in downtown Myrtle Beach. There were signs of damage to beach dunes and some structures done by Hurricane Matthew just one week earlier, but there were more signs that the resilient area is on the road to recovery.
A sad reality is that elsewhere in the area and many miles inland, rivers are still flooding horribly in Matthew's wake and bringing the kind of devastation some residents experienced just one year ago in the freakish storm that resembled a fire hose aimed at South Carolina. Prayers go out for all those affected.
|Heart Walk Photo by Joel Carter|
|Our Mended Hearts crew staffing the Survivors Tent|
The walk itself is a major event for me personally every year. Besides cherishing the fun and friendship, I use the walk as a goal I can set for myself.
In recent years, I have chosen the shorter distance because of my knee replacement and stenotic back, and I thought I would do the same this time because I walk Ellie dawg about a mile (sometimes a little more) twice a day. However, as we started down the Boardwalk (some 2,000 of us!) I was uncertain what the turnaround would be for doing just the one-mile walk, so I kept going with the flow all the way to near the Second Avenue Pier, where we turned around and walked back along the beach. The breeze off the ocean helped keep me going.
As I got to the finish line, the Coastal Carolina University cheerleaders sweetly cheered just for me and my accomplishment. (Three miles felt like the 26. 2 miles I managed to finish a couple of times decades ago.) I must have looked like a bedraggled old man who needed an ego boost. (Flashback to being cheered when as a defensive lineman back in the '50s -- yes that long ago -- I recovered a fumble to seal a win against our school's big rival.)
|Cheerleaders for Heart Walkers -- Yay team!|
I can hardly wait 'til the 2017 Waccamaw Heart Walk. It is my goal to be there for it.
© Robert G. Holland (2016)
|Photo from Ed Piotrowski, ABC15 Chief Meteorologist and co-Emcee of the 2016 Heart Walk festivities|