Frank Shorter thinks he had it tough, running for the first time since back surgery on a relay team in Sunday's Quad Cities Marathon.
The Olympic hero ought to try running the equivalent of a 5K with a brace on one knee and an arm in a sling following a fourth rotator cuff surgery.
Moline's Al Hallene did just that, as the scrappiest of a scrap-heap relay team, appropriately sponsored by Horn's Used Parts and Cars of Colona.
Popular local pugilist Lonnie Horn, the salvage yard's owner and relay team's second leg, had to step up as the squad's sponsor after his brother Bob's ``Total Fitness Center'' refused to back a badly beaten-up quintet.
``We're showing some mileage, sure, but I can't understand why he didn't want to put his name on this,'' Hallene joked about an all-injured relay team including Augustana wrestling coach Kevin Puebla, Moline police chief Steve Etheridge and George Brown of Genesis Medical Center.
``It takes a lot to qualify for this team,'' Lonnie Horn added after running on knees that have had a combined seven surgeries.
Agreed Hallene, ``Kevin has a torn hamstring, Etheridge cut his leg up with a chainsaw and apparently George had a mild heart attack 10 years ago, so he qualifies. And thank God we got him, because he's our second-best runner.''
Brown was badly needed because Hallene had bets down in bragging-rights races with the relay teams of wife Mindy, son Bryan and longtime friend Ben McAdams, whose squad consisted of runners averaging 75 years in age.
``So it's important for Steve to edge out the 87-year-old anchor,'' Hallene joked.
Mission accomplished. While Mindy Hallene's team finished 159th, the salvage squad's 184th placing was better than the 207th of Bryan Hallene's team and the 238th by McAdams' ``Old Kids,'' despite McAdams easily beating Hallene on the first leg and Bryan Hallene passing Horn on leg 2.
``My wife, I think we lost a credit card for a shopping tour. I think I'm in big trouble there,'' Hallene said while awaiting his fate at the finish line. A Nintendo was on the line against son Bryan while beers were at stake with McAdams' bunch.
Moline wrestling coach Todd Rosenthal was supposed to be the motley crew's coach, but saved the shame of being associated with the salvage squad by excusing himself for a round of golf Sunday, Hallene said.
Rosenthal's wife, Sue, the tennis coach at United Township, took over the relay team's coaching duties and apparently took the job seriously.
``Sue recommended we run more and train. She thought we ought to get in shape if we're going to try and do this next year,'' Al Hallene said after a serious scolding from Mrs. Rosenthal. ``I just can't understand why our training sessions at Hafner's didn't pay off.''
``Yeah, we carbo-loaded,'' Horn agreed before likely landing on an explanation. ``and I overloaded.''