Chapter 4: The First 5K
LaSalle Street - 7:44 AM
The lead runners are approaching the 5K marker on LaSalle Street, and they grab their personal bottles of refreshments. Michael grabs his bottle from the refreshment table, and he starts to drink. Nick and Walter are just ahead of him.
Nick- You sure you haven’t ran in the elite field before? You grabbed that bottle like a pro.
Michael- I’ve just been training.
Nick- How ya feeling?
Michael- So far, so good. Got the nerves out of the way.
Nick- Great. Whatever you do, maintain this pace for the first 20. I don’t think anyone’s going break away early, but in the event that anything happens--
An Australian runner, Danny Lee, starts surging, and he passes Michael, Nick, and Walter.
Walter- You spoke too soon, Nick.
Once Danny reaches the African runners, they wisely allow him to pass them. Willie notices Danny surging, and Willie starts slowing down once Danny passes him.
Willie- Look at this wanker.
Sarki- We’ll catch him at the half.
Kaleb- He will tire himself out.
Willie- Indeed. Let him have his glory. We’ll catch him later.
Michael continues running with Nick and Walter.
Nick- Danny Lee. Australian runner.
Walter- He’s gonna bonk before he reaches the half. Guys who go that hard this early usually drop out after the half.
Nick- Let’s stay behind them and bide our time. The race won’t begin until we reach the 30K mark, so no need to do what Danny is doing.
Michael- You got it.
The spectators cheer as Danny continues to surge ahead of the pack. The race continues behind him as the runners continue running north on the 2-mile straightaway.
The Kingsleys' Apartment - Continuous
Becky continues watching the race on television.
Commentator- (off screen) Danny Lee, the Australian runner, has just opened things up here, and is running at a crisp tempo right now. It doesn’t look like anyone’s going to run with him. Lee is a 2:10 performer, and that’s his personal best he’s hit earlier this year in London. You wouldn’t figure he’d be in the winning picture. Anything is possible, but it’s still highly unlikely he will maintain it.
Michael is seen on television in the middle of the main pack.
Commentator- (off screen) Davis, Dibaba, Kipkosgei, Daniels, and Watkins all running together right now, leading the pack of about 15 runners.
Becky- What, you’re not mentioning Michael? Come on.
Commentator- (off screen) Lewis, the Chicagoan, is right in the middle of this pack, and so far through 5K, he looks very relaxed.
Becky sighs anxiously.
Becky- Jamie, come on! He’s doing really good out there! When they make it here, we need to go catch him!
Meanwhile, Jamie is in her bedroom. Her luggage is packed, and she is staring at a photo of herself and Michael, and with tears in her eyes.
LaSalle Street - Continuous
Michael continues running with Nick and Walter in the middle of the pack.
Nick- Michael, me and Nick are taking our wives to dinner after this. You should come and bring your wife. You married?
Michael- No, actually, I’m divorced.
Nick- Oh, sorry.
Michael- Well, no. She broke up with me last night.
Walter- Wow… The day after your big race? What did you do?
Michael- Honestly, I have no idea.
Nick- It must’ve been really bad if she broke up with you before your race. Whatever the case, if she isn’t willing to support you now, she isn’t meant for you.
Michael- I still wish she were out here. She’s the reason I’m even doing this. She encouraged me to follow my dreams.
As Michael continues running, he has another flashback.
Flashback 4: Follow Your Dreams
Michael’s Apartment - 4 Years, 6 Months Prior
Several weeks after his suicide attempt, Michael is in his apartment. He is watching a baseball game.
A buzz comes from his intercom. Michael gets out of his armchair, and he walks to the window. He looks down, and he notices Steven and Doug standing two stories down. He goes back to his intercom and buzzes them in.
Moments later, he lets his friends inside.
Steven- (smiles) Michael, what’s up, buddy?
Michael- What’s up, guys?
Michael hugs his friends and leads them inside his apartment before closing the door.
Michael- What brings you guys here?
Steven- Well, first of all, how are you doing?
Michael- Well, I’m still here.
Doug- That’s good, man. It’s good to see you.
Steven- Listen, I’m gonna cut to the chase. Look, Jamie told us about your desire to run a marathon. You’ve been dreaming about getting in the marathon for years.
Doug- We also know that Abby never really wanted you to.
Michael- Yeah? So?
Steven- We’ve signed up through a charity team. Mercy’s Home for Boys and Girls. We’re still looking for more guys to join, and we thought of you.
Doug- We’d love for you to come join us.
Michael- I don’t know.
Steven- Come on. Spring is here, and we figured we’d get off to a good jump and train together on the weekends, and sometimes the afternoons.
Doug- Whenever you’re available.
Steven- We know you’re busy with work at nights, so we figured maybe the mornings. We can all meet by the lake if that's cool, or if you want, Mike, we can run out here. Either way, it's cool.
Doug- We were thinking maybe 5 or 6 AM.
Michael- Guys, I don't know. What about registration? How much do I need to pay?
Steven- Come on, man. Registration for the race itself is free if you register with Mercy. You’re guaranteed to get in. It’s what you’ve always wanted. The only thing you really need to do is raise money. We can all do that together.
Michael- I don’t know, guys. Now just ain’t a good time. I’m sorry.
Doug- Michael, you’ve been sitting here moping for weeks. Stop sitting here and feeling sorry for yourself. Forget about Abby. Forget that witch. This is your time. This is going to get you out of your funk, bro.
Michael- I said no! I just can't do it. Alright?!
Steven and Doug lower their heads in disappointment. Steven flops his arms, and slaps his thighs before standing up.
Steven- Okay. If you change your mind, hit us up.
Steven and Doug leave Michael’s apartment. Michael continues watching the baseball game.
Michael is sitting on his bed. He is staring at his high school cross country photos. He is staring at one of him hoisting a trophy with his teammates.
Michael then takes out his cell phone, and as he scrolls through his contacts, he stops at Jamie’s phone number. He starts to dial her number, but he pauses.
The Kingsleys' Apartment - Continuous
Meanwhile, Jamie and Becky are having dinner in their apartment.
Becky- So, Shelly and I have been thinking about having a girls night out. You should come.
Jamie- I don’t know. You know I don’t drink.
Becky- You don’t have to. Just come with us.
Jamie- Okay, can I think about it?
Becky- Jamie, come on! When was the last time you went out? In fact, when was the last time you went on a date?
Jamie- I’m a very busy woman. Okay? I don’t have time to--
Becky- Um, hello. I have a business, too. I’m going to drag you out of the house if that’s what it takes.
Becky- I’m serious. You are a very successful woman, and you are very pretty. Why are you single?
Jamie- Well, why are you single?
Becky- I haven’t found anyone strong enough to handle all of this. Too many betas. Anyway, you’ve been single way longer than I have.
Becky- Hey, you should date Michael.
Becky grins at Jamie.
Becky- Uh-huh. You like him! I see it in your eyes! You have a thing for Michael!
Jamie- I don’t know, Becky. I don’t know if he’d even want to go out.
Becky- I say you should date him.
Becky- If you don’t, I will.
Becky- (grins) See? I knew you liked him.
Becky- Jamie, he's probably going to ask you out. Wait for it.
Jamie- Whatever, Becky.
Jamie’s phone rings.
Becky- That’s probably him.
Jamie checks her phone, and she blushes when she sees Michael’s picture and number on her phone. She quickly gets up and goes into the kitchen before answering the phone. Becky grins.
Jamie- (smiles) Hi, Michael!
Michael- How are you?
Jamie- I’m fine. How about you?
Michael- I’m okay.
Jamie- Well, that’s good. Becky and I were just talking about you.
Michael- Oh, really? Anything good?
Jamie- (smiles) Oh, of course. So, what's going on?
Michael- Well, I just wanted to say hey before I go to bed.
Jamie- (smiles) Are you sure that's all you wanted to say? I feel like there's more.
Michael- Well, I uh... that was it, actually.
Jamie- (smiles) Well, either way, I'm glad you called. I need to ask you something.
Michael- Okay, go for it.
Jamie- Why won’t you run with Steven and Doug?
Michael is silent.
Michael- He spoke to you about it?
Jamie- Yeah, he told me that he and Doug visited you. Michael, this is your dream. You have dreamed about this since high school. We all know your father and Abby have both discouraged you from chasing your dreams because they felt it was a waste of time. Michael, I am encouraging you to follow your dreams. I think all you really need is a little support. Steven and Doug have your back. They support you. I do, too.
Becky- (off screen) I support him, too!
Jamie- (giggles) Yes, and Becky does, too.
Michael- You really think I can do this? You think I'll be any good?
Jamie- I know it. Michael, you have my full support. If you join, I’ll be your first donor. Just don’t tell Steven. I want you to do what you enjoy doing. If you don't, you will regret it later. Go out there with your friends. Have fun. Enjoy yourself. Just know I'll be out there rooting for you, and hold up one of those funny signs they usually hold up. You know, "Run now, wine later".
Michael- (laughs) Actually, that will be cool.
Jamie- (laughs) I'm totally kidding about that sign. Okay, maybe not.
Jamie- (smiles) Well, I’m glad I got you smiling a little.
Michael- Yeah, thank you for that. Thank you for encouraging me. I think I really did need this.
Jamie- That's all you needed.
Steven’s Apartment, Hyde Park - The Next Morning
Steven has Doug over his apartment, and they’re preparing for their run.
Steven- I’m telling you. Jacqueline was so fine. Did you see the way she looked at me, man?
Doug- You got her number?
Steven- Come on. What do you think? Who was that chick you were talking to at the coffee shop?
Doug- Lauren. She works there. She is amazing.
Steven- (smiles) Ah. Yeah, she’s cute, bro.
Doug- We should double. Maybe if Michael decides to be personable, grow some balls, and ask Jamie out, we can triple.
Steven- Alright… Sounds good.
Steven’s cell phone rings. Steven picks it up, and sees that Michael is calling. Steven answers the phone.
Michael- Hey, look out your window.
Steven and Doug walk to the window, and they notice Michael standing outside looking up at them.
Michael, dressed in a tracksuit, hangs up the phone, and he looks up.
Michael- Hey, you dorks coming or what?!
Steven and Doug smile and nod to each other.
Doug- He's back.
End of Scene
About the author
I am an aspiring screenwriter, a marathoner, and a blogger. I love to write screenplays in my spare time, and I thought I'd share some of my work on here. Please feel free to check them out as I post, and let me know what you think.