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Scott Vicker - Vick-tory Lap

The boys (were) back in town

Pictured, from left, are former Saint Louis University track and field athletes Jack Hostetler, Matt Bucher, Will Herrington, Scott Vicker, Brian Holdmeyer and Gavin Robey after running the Living History Farms Off-road Race Saturday, Nov. 18, in Des Moines.
Pictured, from left, are former Saint Louis University track and field athletes Jack Hostetler, Matt Bucher, Will Herrington, Scott Vicker, Brian Holdmeyer and Gavin Robey after running the Living History Farms Off-road Race Saturday, Nov. 18, in Des Moines.

Thanksgiving is always one of my favorite times of the year. How could it not be, with family gathering to share in a delicious, home-cooked meal and taking a break from all the stresses of everyday life?

This Thanksgiving was no different for me, as my family gathered at my parents’ house, with a couple of honorary members of the Vicker family in CNA Sports Editor Kaleb Carter and Sports Reporter Carter Eckl.

I enjoyed spending time with my brother, sister-in-law and two nephews, as well as my parents. For the second straight year, we missed the presence of my sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew, as they live in London. This year, my sister spent Thanksgiving in Dublin on a work assignment.

Still, Thanksgiving was the nice, relaxing break I needed for a day.

One of the other reasons I enjoy Thanksgiving so much is because the weekend before Thanksgiving brings one of my favorite annual events – Living History Farms Off-road Race.

It’s a race I started running in high school and then had to take a few years off while I was in college at Saint Louis University.

My college teammates always listened to me ramble about how much fun the race was, and so after we graduated, a new tradition was born where some of my teammates would make the trek to Des Moines to run the race with me.

It has evolved into an annual gathering of anywhere between six and nine former Billiken runners teaming up as Prestige Worldwide. Rumor has it, the team could grow even more next year.

I consider myself lucky to have so many college friends willing to travel to Des Moines each year to run the race with me and spend the weekend exploring Des Moines.

For most of the guys who make the trip, it’s the only time all year I see them anymore. It never fails to amaze me how we can pick things up like we all just saw each other yesterday, though.

A large part of that is because of the way technology has evolved. We are all able to stay in touch regularly through a group chat on our phones, not to mention any updates we might see from one another on Facebook or Twitter.

Sometimes, technology and social media can be a curse. But the value it provides to a group of friends spread out over the country is incredible.

This year’s Prestige Worldwide team included friends making the trip from New York City, Chicago, St. Louis and Washington, D.C. Another teammate of ours lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, and usually joins us but was unable to this year. The same goes for another in Madison, Wisconsin.

Next year, we’ll be adding another teammate from Houston.

There’s just something special about a once-a-year meeting, which we have affectionately dubbed the Prestige Worldwide Annual Shareholders Conference to make ourselves feel important.

I think the annual gathering helps us appreciate the friendships we’ve created with one another, as we maximize our time together over the course of the weekend.

These guys are like brothers. We spent four years working together as a team in college, spending nearly every weekend traveling with each other and competing alongside each other.

It’s a special bond we have that will never be broken. And though none of us are in anywhere near as good of shape as we were in college, we all look forward to getting the boys back together for one more race each year.

There was discussion at this year’s shareholders conference about finding a spring race for us all to gather at, as well. I don’t know if my body can handle training for (and sometimes not training for) another race each year, but I certainly wouldn’t turn down another opportunity to gather with my teammates for one more race.

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