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Death at Dawn

Several weeks ago, Thomas (12) participated in a local event, Death at Dawn, with his friend JJ. 
We had never heard of this event until the day after it started and JJ called Thomas and said, "Hey, do you think Thomas would like to meet me and my family at the local University at 5:30 tomorrow morning to run and workout?".  I knew he would so I answered in the affirmative for him :)
The organizers estimated that about 160 people came out for two straight weeks, from 5:30-6:30 a.m. to train.   Apparently it started out several years ago as a way to "jump start" the girls soccer season at the high school.  The coach complained that he spent the first two weeks of practice getting the girls back into shape, wasting a bunch of time when he could be drilling.  One of the girls had parents who decided to start an early-morning pre-season training (they are runners) and it just grew from there.  Then the boys team wanted to join.  Then other teams at the high school wanted in.  Parents of the athletes said "we'd like to train too". . .and so here they are now. . .with 160 people, many, many volunteers, and a fun tradition for our small town in the middle of Tennessee.
Some mornings they would leave the track and run around campus. . .

Here is a good early-morning shot I got of Coach Joe, JJ, and Thomas:
And one the newspaper photographer got of a very-tired JJ using Thomas as a prop to lean upon one morning:

 Running stairs and lots of push-ups and sit-ups were a part of their mornings too.  They always began right at 5:30 a.m. with a word of prayer, then straight on to the warm-up laps around the track. . .
. . .usually about that time I would have a friend show up to play tennis with :)  Yes, I was able to talk a few people into coming out and playing with me about seven of these days!!
This photo came from 90+ pictures our local paper took and posted online.

The prize at the end?  Every participant tries hard for 9-out-of-10-days participation for a t-shirt :)  Of course, since Thomas missed the first day he was up-and-at-em at 5 a.m. every morning for the last 9 days. . .and he made it!!!
Thank you, Larry & Tracy Epps, of Cookeville, TN, for putting this event together for our school athletes!!!  Hopefully we'll see you out there again next year. . .


  1. What a wonderful community tradition. It is so much easier to do things like that when others are doing it too.


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