Tretorn Story


Bronze Member
May 28, 2014
My college girlfriend decided to accompany me on a newspaper assignment one day after class. Beth, always the fashion-minded type, coordinated her outfit to go with the event. For this September day she wore a crisp, white Ralph Lauren blouse with the collar turned up, cropped guess jeans and a pair of white canvas Tretorn tennis shoes. I always found her conservative yet put together sense of style to be very attractive. The entire outfit was all brand new for the start of the semester.

Beth was athletic but running wasn’t her thing. She was on the swim team and had done gymnastics when she was younger. This was her first trip to a cross-country race. Our plan was to attend the race in the morning and meet some of her friends for lunch in the afternoon.

I got some pictures of the registration area and shortly thereafter the race began. I asked Beth if she wanted to wait at the shelters or walk with me as I took more pictures. She chose to come with. I decided to essentially walk the race route in reverse so that we could easily get pictures of the runners as they came our way. We headed off into the woods following the grass trail. A few runners that left in an earlier grouping made their way by. Beth remarked how dirty and gross they looked with dirt and mud splashed up the backs of their legs. As if there were any doubt, this confirmed for Beth that swimming was much more her sport than running.

As we made our way further along, we had to navigate around a few wet spots. Beth was rather adept at tip-toeing around the puddles and “yucky” areas as she called them. She glided effortlessly on stepping stones, tree roots and puffs of grass without so much as a speck of dirt getting on her. Meanwhile, I found mud creeping up around the sides of my running shoes as I was clearly not as graceful as my better half. Beth remarked that I’d need to find a creek to wash my shoes in before going to lunch.

Sure enough, we found ourselves approaching a creek that was going to be impossible to cross without wading through. Beth announced that she was done walking and was ready to go back. I had no interest in crossing the creek either. As we were deciding to turn back, a few runners came our way splashing through the wide, shallow creek and subsequent mud pit not caring a lick about the wet mess. I thought some pictures of the runners plowing through the slop would make for good copy for the paper. Nothing like a good “action” shot.

I worked my way off to the side far enough from where the runners would pass so as not to get splashed but at good angle to get the pictures. Beth was amazed at how the first group of runners just ran full speed through the water and mud without any concern for getting dirty. I explained that is just what cross country runners do. The winner is who has the best time, not the cleanest clothes. She again confirmed that this would not be a sport for her.

I asked Beth if she’d hold my camera bag as I may need to change lenses. She agreed but plotted a complex route to get to me by walking on a series of fallen logs and branches to get just behind me. Her pristine Tretorns gripping the wood without a problem. I gave her the typical boyfriend “be careful” which she dismissed. I thought she looked just so cute in her preppy outfit and admired her balancing skills as she made her way to me. You could see her gymnastics background at work. When she finally got to where I was, she was exactly my height as she stood on the last log. I told her how impressed I was with her tight-rope act. She laughed bouncing up and down on the log as I held her by the waist. She then pointed out another group of runners heading our way. I readied my camera and got several good pictures as they hit the stream and muddy bank at full speed. Beth laughed at the one girl who almost lost her shoe in the ankle deep mud. She quickly inspected her own tennis shoes to make sure no mud had splashed on the pristine white canvas. Fortunately for everyone, none had. She adjusted the lace on her right shoe to even out the loops which took a fair amount of balance to do on smooth-barked log that wasn’t that wide.

While waiting for the next runner, I inched further down towards the creek with Beth following behind on her perch. I was just a foot or so away from the really bad mud and in fact my right foot slid causing me to momentarily lose my balance. Beth laughed saying how funny it would be if I wiped out in the muck. I regained my footing and she placed her hands on my shoulders as I got ready for the next runner. She again reminded me that I’d have to get cleaned up before lunch and asked if I brought an extra pair of shoes. I was about to answer when the next runner came through. The girl tripped when she was exiting the stream and fell into the muddy shoreline. Beth laughed out loud as the runner scrambled to her feet and went along.

Not thinking about Beth resting her hands on my shoulders for balance, I bent down to take a final picture from near ground level. In doing so, Beth lurched forward falling towards the mud. My cat-like reflexes enabled me to grab her just a few inches from the mud and steady her back onto the log. She had let out a girly scream as she started to fall and sighed with relief when I returned her to safety. Her appreciation was mixed with some scolding as she said, “You are so lucky! That would have been your fault you clumsy oaf!” She was kinda smiling when she was saying it so it wasn’t completely mean spirited.

I figured we better get going so I gathered my camera bag and started to put my camera away. As I was looking down into my bag, Beth continued on with her mock discipline about how careless I was in almost letting her fall. She continued, “and this shirt is new! I’d be so pissed if you got dirt on it!” I had never seen someone so worked up over *almost* getting dirty. Added to that she had this imperious look as she posed on the log with hands on hips. She had the look of a preppy queen overlooking her minions disgusted with their dirty appearance.

I extended my hand to help her back down the log and she swatted it away in a dramatic motion declaring her independence. In doing so, she leaned too far forward. A look of concern immediately came across her face. She tried to compensate in the opposite direction but gravity was winning. Her immaculate designer sneakers valiantly tried to grip the log as they slid forward. Her arms were flailing which made it impossible for me to get to her. She again screamed as her feet left the log and she stumbled into the ankle deep mud. Her momentum caused her to stumble forward where she ultimately ended up front side down in the mud with a trailing off “ohhhh noooo!” Other than her screams, the primary sound I heard were slurps from her landing and rolling in the mud. The mud ran from the tips of her left hand, down the sleeve and front of her Ralph Lauren shirt and down the prized Guess jeans. Her feet were buried a few inches down into the mud. A fair amount of mud splashed in her face and in her hair.

I immediately helped her up as she repeatedly commanded of me. She slipped and slid as she tried to get to her feet. I heard some laughter from a runner who sprinted through the same creek area immediately following Beth’s accident. There was certainly no laughter coming from Beth who waddled out of the mud with hands extended out at her sides. The mud and water dripped from everywhere. She made a squishing noise with each step as her once-white canvas sneakers essentially turned into mud-soaked sponges that expelled the disgusting slop as she walked.

The walk back to the car was relatively quiet – except for the persistent squishing. We passed a few of her friends and other onlookers who clearly wondered what had happened. The only thing she could offer was the look of utter defeat. I could hear her muttering almost under her breath “I can’t believe this…I can’t believe this…My clothes are ruined. This is so gross. I can’t believe this.” She must have repeated this several times. A stranger walked up and offered her a towel which she swatted away as we slogged back to my car. Needless to say we didn’t make lunch with the friends that day. I gave her a blanket to sit on and straight home we went.


Staff member
Jun 7, 2004
Re: Tretorn Story

Great story! It kills me (like it did her) that her brand new Tretorns got ruined, but still a great story!