Last Friday night I promised our sports guy Scott Ryan I would go to Umatilla Saturday morning and get pictures of the 2012 Columbia River Power Marathon.

Because Scott was covering an all-day volleyball tournament in Hermiston, that left coverage of the marathon for someone else.

Anyone who has seen me knows I am not a runner, much less a marathoner.

But there I was with camera in hand suffering through a constant, cold drizzle about 50 yards in front of the starting line waiting for the runners to take off.

Then the race started and more than 250 runners started racing toward me while I snapped pictures. I have to admit it was kind of a cool thing to see this crowd of people run toward me through the lens of a camera.

Then after driving to McNary Dam to try and get photos of the runners crossing the dam, I drove back home to have breakfast with my wife, knowing I would return in about two hours for the marathon finish.

Later, as I waited for the full marathoners to cross the finish line, I got ready about 10-15 yards in front of the finish line (I didn’t worry about being in anyone’s way as I figured after running 26 miles, they wouldn’t want to run any farther than they had to).

First the men top finishers crossed the line and I waited for the top woman runner. Then, to my surprise, a woman who while attending college, interned for a summer the Lewiston Tribune while I was there, crossed the finish line as the first full-marathoner for the women.

Rosa Bautista, 25, of Lewiston worked hard and covered several stories for me while interning. When I asked her why she decided to race in the Umatilla marathon she told me she is not unfamiliar with the region.

She told me she grew up and attended high school in Stanfield so she knew about the race from her time here.

She also said she is continuing her schooling so she can eventually graduate from Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston with a nursing degree — as she wants to become a nurse.

That didn’t surprise me at all as we Tribune editors could see she was the kind of person who when she put her mind to it, could accomplish anything.

The fact that she won her “hometown” marathon is a compelling enough storyline.

But that she is an incredibly driven woman who will someday be a nurse is another story in itself.

But I chose to write about the chance meeting of a person I thought would accomplish great things in her life — and I still believe it.

This meeting took place in a location where she has moved away from and where I have moved to for the next phase of my career and life.

So here is my story to her. I think she deserves it and I am proud to write it.

What are the odds of me seeing her again at the marathon?

Well, I think they are a little high because if she hadn’t come in first, or even as one of the Top Three women finishers, I would not have seen her at all.

Sad to say but we in the news business will get pictures of the winners and runners up, but the rest of the pack largely goes unnoticed — unless there is a compelling reason for a story.

So if she hadn’t finished in the Top Three, I would have packed up my camera and left before the next runner crossed the finish, knowing I had given my email address to race organizers and I would have the final results sent to me.

Then it’s a tossup if I would have seen her name among the finishers once I scanned the names for the Top Three.

I choose to believe in providence.

The fact that we met at the finish line seemed to be as uplifting for her as it was for me. Of course she had just finished running 26 miles so maybe she was just happy she didn’t have to run anymore.

One thing's for sure, it really is a small world.

Thompson can be reached at (541) 564-4533, or at editor@hermistonherald.com.

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