[voice of NBC announcer Tom live on the scene]
Tom: Welcome to the most popular parking lot for runners in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio. This morning, these nondescript sedans and family cars will provide the backdrop for the start of Dill’s much anticipated Sunday long run.
Today we’ll be following the journey of this legendary mother of two as she attempts to finish twenty miles at thirty seconds slower than her goal marathon pace. But her journey didn’t start here on this hot and humid morning. Here’s Bob to take a look at the difficult journey Dill endured just to get herself and her minivan here.
[Camera pans over the front of Dill’s house as the sun slowly rises in the background. Dill is in a mad rush, shoving a bagel in her mouth yelling, “Where’s my water bottle?!” Her husband, the man behind her running success, hands her her water bottle while consoling their youngest daughter in his arms. A single tear rolls down her child’s cheek as she clutches one of her mother’s running shoes. Her big dark eyes express the sadness caused by the family’s sacrifice in the name of athletic greatness.]
Bob: Today, as her mother aims for yet another BQ, this child will be forced to eat Daddy’s sad misshapen pancakes, and watch the cartoons with the commercials in them that only a father would let his children watch. Despite the scene, Dill, the neighborhood-class athlete she is, takes it in stride, knowing this is what she must do in her relentless pursuit of slightly-above-averageness.
[With a mouth full of bagel, Dill yells “Mooh Bah!” as she dashes towards the garage and the beckoning minivan.]
[Tide Pod commercial. Insurance commercial. McDonalds commercial. Stupid new NBC sitcom commercial.]
[Return to the parking lot.]
Tom: Welcome back to the parking lot here in the not-Olympic park. We see that Dill surprisingly is not wearing the stars and stripes, but instead is wearing … what appears to be a cheap sports bra and old shorts. What do you make of it, Kenny?
Kenny: Well, Tom, we’ll certainly see some chafing out there today. She’s also carrying her own fluid in a small hand held. With temperatures in the 90s with high humidity, this is a bold choice. Sources say she only has water and a Gu in there. We’ll see how the chafing waddle and the dehydration affect her later in the run.
Tom: Thanks for the insight, Kenny. Well, we should be all set to start here in just a few minutes after her warm up. Athletes at this level know the importance of a solid warm up … What? Wait a second! She just started running? Her training buddy Amie and a bunch of other guys pulled into the parking lot and they simply started running! This is unheard of. Kenny, have you ever seen this?
Kenny: No, Tom, I haven’t. She’s definitely going to get hurt today. Again this is a bold move, primitive fuel, worn-out lycra, and no warm up.
[Back to the scene on the path with Tom and Kenny doing play-by-play.]
Kenny: Well the Sunday long run is under way, and it looks like they are out for a Sunday stroll rather than a long run. This pace is much slower than where they need to be.
Tom: That’s right, Kenny, Dill’s about forty seconds slower than her goal pace. She’s in trouble early on as we hit that first mile mark. No way she’s going to be able to make that up! Now you’ll notice running side-by-side with Dill is her training partner and friend Amie. The two are inseparable, and it seems Amie is talking her through this run, offering some sort of advice. You know they train together every run, so they’ll be leaning on each other to get through this run.
[Not the Simone Biles Tide pod commercial again. Ugh.]
[Back to the trail.]
Kenny: As they approach mile five, Dill is still barely hanging with the training group. Tom, it sure looks like they are picking up the pace a bit, doesn’t it? Those last three miles were actually at her goal pace. Maybe she has a chance to piece this run back together …
Tom: Oh – she goes down! Certain disaster!
Kenny: Wow, Tom, half of the group is on the ground lying in the dirt. They appear to be very injured, they are all in tears. Let’s look back and see what happened. The bald gentleman to her right clipped her heel and Dill went down, taking her training partner Amie and several others with her.
Tom: Kenny, what is this? They aren’t crying… they are all laughing. Look at Dill help up that middle-aged man with the fuel belt. What an incredible show of sportsmanship as members of the training group stop mid-run to help their fellow runners up, even ones who wear fuel belts.
Kenny: This is what it’s all about, Tom. And they can even stop their Garmins for this and not count this time when determining their overall pace. This issue was arbitrated last year and the authorities agreed unanimously that stopping a Garmin during a fall is legal, but only if there is a corresponding demonstration of sportsmanship, or if the Garmin is on that setting that automatically stops when the runner isn’t moving. We’ll be back, live, from the path in the park in just a few moments.
[5 second shot of Dill running while wiping some snot off her chin.]
[Return to Bob at headquarters.]
Bob: So drama on the trail in this, the last twenty mile run before Dill’s next big marathon. She started 2016 off with a huge PR down in Alabama, but her trip to Boston this spring was nothing less than disappointing.
[The TV coverage cuts to a shot of Dill visiting the Boston starting line the day before the race. Dill appears on the screen and you can hear her saying, “I’m just here to run and have fun. No time goals for tomorrow, it’s just an honor to be here.” The scene changes and it’s Dill passing her husband, yelling, “It’s too hot, I’m too dehydrated, I’m just going to try and finish.”]
Ryan: As you can see from archival footage, Dill’s husband was clearly not happy with her performance in Boston.
[The husband’s enraged face as he kicks something fades into a shot of Dill, walking in those late miles, then fades to her lying on the ground by the bag drop, frowning and clearly disappointed.]
[Back to the beach.]
Leslie: Ryan, can’t we go party in the stands next to beach volleyball?
Kevin: Yeah, man. I hear the Swedish team is playing and they have KT Tape in some really interesting places.
[Kevin’s brother distractedly scrolls on his phone. Ryan, at risk of short-circuiting in the face of even the most superficial negativity, sticks to the script.]
Ryan: It’s evident Dill has something to prove at this next race and to redeem her poor husband. It’s not often that the wife of a Director of Engineering can succeed in running. Did we mention Dill’s husband was a former collegiate water polo player? Kevin, those athletes also play in swimsuits. You might like water polo.
Tom: We’re back live in the runners’ parking lot at Cuyahoga Valley National Park, where we hear Dill and the training group are about half-way through the run and about to reach a water stop. Now, it will be important that they execute this water stop perfectly. Time is of the essence, and these runners need to make sure they navigate around the other runners, bikers and dog-walkers in the park and get to that water fountain before one of those long drinkers hogs it. They need to refill those bottles, take in their fuel and get back on the road.
Kenny: Dill is executing this perfectly. Look at her fill up that bottle and waste no time dumping that water over her head. Now, she’s going for even more efficiency, desperately trying to cool herself down by sticking her head in the water fountain. I’ve never seen anyone actually stick their head into a water fountain before, she must be in trouble. We mentioned the temperature earlier. Cleary the high temperatures will be a factor today. Yes, she’s going to need her training partner and friend to help get her through these last ten miles.
[Cut to breaking news about Ryan Lochte announcing his new reality show called Punk’d: International Police Edition, Thursdays on NBC!]
[Back to Tom and Kenny.]
Tom: While we were gone, the drama of this event really heated up! As the group headed back out from the water stop Dill appeared to be refreshed from the water fountain. She’s now poised to make a comeback. It looks like she’s making a move to catch back up to the group. There is no way she can keep this up, Kenny!
Kenny: Yes, Tom. This is such a rookie mistake to go out too hard too soon. She still has five miles to go. Everyone knows the last five miles are where you separate the men from the boys. She’s going to crash and burn! Look at that look on her face, I think the chafing from her sports bra is getting to h–
Tom: Oh no! She dropped her water bottle! But look at her pick it up and keep going like nothing ever happened. What a class act! What a professional!
Kenny: With just two miles to go, it’s really heating up out there. Will Dill and Amie fade? They are twenty seconds behind; there’s just no way!
[Cuts to camera on lead group.]
Tom: Here’s the lead group as they come around the corner, it’s clear there is just not enough time. But wait! Who’s that in the distance, Kenny?
Kenny: Tom, can you believe it? It’s Dill and Amie! They are closing the gap, only five seconds behind now! They are going to catch the group! Can you believe it? Dill nearly had the power of a man running that last quarter mile! What an unbelievable story of courage, a mother of two, the wife of a former-water-polo-playing engineer who makes weirdly shaped pancakes finishes her Sunday long run … and faster than she planned!
[The screen switches to a shot of Dill’s husband surfing the internet while her children fight over a crayon.]
[Back to Bob at headquarters.]
Bob: And this, folks, was one of the greatest American sports moments of all time. As we leave our coverage of Dill’s twenty-miler, stay tuned! Our very special interview with Boomer Phelps is next.
What’s been your favorite part of the NBC Olympic coverage?