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Grade
7

There was mass unemployment roaming around the city.  People were struggling and trying to support their families as best as they could.  Any piece of food laying around was fair game.  Everyone around was wearing rags because they couldn’t spend their money on silly clothes.  As you probably guessed, it was the Great Depression.  It was 1937, and summer was approaching, Richard, who had just quit his job, as a newspaper deliverer, was struggling to support his family.  He had a wife, Betty, and three kids, Richard Jr., Harold, and Elizabeth.  With no money or food to put on the table, Richard was getting ready for the annual race--that’s why he quit his job.  There was always time for the race; even at this time in history, the government always put money aside for the race.  The race was huge, 3.1 miles long, and happened every year in Richard’s hometown, Pittsburg.  The prize money for winning the race was $20,000!  Richard, eager to win the prize money, was intensely training for the race.  Betty, pacing back and forth, was contemplating how to get enough money.

“Richard.  What are you doing?”  Betty asked looking at the weights Richard was lifting.

“Ummm.  Nothing.  Richard replied not wanting her to know that he was training.

“Are you training for that silly race?  She asked with a concern.

“Nooo.”  Richard replied, quickly trying to hide his weights.

“You are!  You quit your job for an asinine race?!”  She yelled.

“Ok I am and I did.  But, I’ll win,”  He said.

“I’ll win”  Richard repeated before Betty could say anything that would go against him.

Richard was non-stop training, after that dispute, lifting weights and running all around his neighborhood.  He was barely even home to be there for his children.  

“Why is Dad always gone?”  Harold asked.

“He’s training for the race.”  Betty said with a sigh.

“Can I train with him?”  Richard Jr. and Elizabeth asked simultaneously.

As Richard trained, he became more muscular but skinnier.  With less and less food, and since no money was coming in, Richard became weaker and weaker.  Then, with a few days before the race Richard collapsed outside while he was running.  It hit him hard as he fell with a thud.  His head hit first as he lost consciousness for a few seconds.  When he woke up the smell on grass, dirt, and pollen filled his nostrils.  Richard tried to get up but it seemed he couldn’t.  Not being able to get up, he lay on the floor for many hours until Betty found him.

“Gasp!”  Betty gasped.

“What happened?”

“I collapsed while I was running.”  Richard replied faintly.

“You have to stop.  Before it’s too late,”  Betty said very worried and dramatically.

“I will do this.  I will win.  I will,”  Richard said in his inspiring voice.

The day of the race had come.  Richard was getting into the car when Betty called him back.

“Be careful”  She said.

“I will”  Richard answered walking back to his car.  

It was strange that Richard had a car.  He was struggling and couldn’t even put food on the table, but never once did he think about selling his car.  Anyway, he started his car and waved to wife and three children.  He drove down the road with very few cars on it because cars were just being made.  He got to the race and there were at least 1,000 people there yearning for the race to commence.  Everyone was wearing rags including Richard because they all needed the money at this particular time.  With very little time before the race began, Richard lined up at the starting line with every single person.  The crowd was very small because everyone was at the starting line.  The bell was rung and everyone was off.  As usually, even though Richard didn’t know, Melvin Dodd ran to the first place spot.  Richard, on the other hand, was somewhere in the middle of the pack.  Melvin looked straight back at him while taking a commanding lead.  Richard did not give up, he muscled through to find that he was only at the one mile mark.  The best thing about that was the fact that he had passed two guys.  

As the second mile was ahead of him, he started to run even faster than he ran before.  Looking at Melvin, Richard started to sprint, that was a mistake.  Half way into the mile Richard started to feel the same feeling as he did when he collapsed.  He finally stopped to take a brief hiatus.  During this time, almost 50 people had passed him.  But then, Richard remembered what he had to go through without any money and what he had to do to get here.  He had quit his job!  With all these thoughts running through his head and all of his pique filling inside of him he opened his eyes.  Almost in dead last now, and he started to run.  Faster and faster as his strides became longer.  He passed one person then another and then a whole section.  By the third and final mile Richard was within the top ten people.  He looked to the sides of the course and saw a woman and three children.

“Was that Betty and my kids?” He thought to himself.

He wondered and wondered but soon forgot about it.  Richard kept running with thoughts racing in his mind about winning the grand prize.  As the third mile was coming to an end there was still about 200 meters to go.  With Richard in third place he started to sprint and sprint until his heart gave out.  He passed Giles Monroe, the second placed runner in the last few seconds and started to come close to Melvin Dodd.  Richard was running faster than he ever could do before.  His heart was pounding and his breathes were short and quick.  With 50 meters to go Richard got an edge on Melvin and it all went well from there.  Richard ran and ran until he could feel the paper of the finish line ripping at his waist.  

A man was there, right at the finish line, wearing a snazzy and sharp suit, to congratulate Richard on his victory of the race.  He handed Richard the check that said “$20,000”  in big bold numbers.  When Richard got a hold of the check he held it like it was his most prized possession.  Richard looked back to see Melvin’s face in a disheartened state and his mouth in a shape of an “O”  Ignoring Melvin, Richard quickly ran to the woman a three children to see that it was Betty, Richard Jr., Harold, and Elizabeth.  Richard handed the check to Betty and she almost had a heart attack.  Her eyes bulged out and she looked at Richard with a sparkle in her eye.  Betty’s arms opened up wide as she went in for a hug.  She held Richard for a very long time, knowing that they would be okay.

State
MI
Zip Code
48105