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Section 1 - The Starting Line

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The Setting

It's a beautiful day in Ponyville! Everypony is waiting to take part in the Running of the Leaves, which is sure to be a race to remember! Some ponies are warming up, while others merely chat it up with fellow competitors. Everypony is preparing how they know best! It seems there may be a few ponies who have let their nerves get the best of them. But, racing or not, the sun is shining and the trees are colorful, waiting to spread their crispy leaves all over the forest floor!

th_Kinoicon.jpg -Lampwick 'Flicker' Jane-

Somewhere overhead a large balloon hovers, its shadow floating over the ground and walls of ponyville. Squinting her eyes at the bright sky, Flicker glances up at the graceful wonder as it cruises on by, chirping out its excited chatter. She could barely make out the shapes of the passengers so distantly up- in all of her travels she had never seen a balloon so... big.

"On your marks!" a distant voice chimed.

In fact, she hadn't been to ponyville in years! And now somehow she had got caught up helping out somepony name Mrs. Mayor without so much of a chance to pipe in a word of protest; but Flicker didn't really mind. Traveling was all about the spontaneous! The wild, the new! The town was just overflowing with ponies, This was perfectly right by her. Now all she had to do... what was it again now? It was something to do with the flag she'd been carrying for the last half hour or so.

"Get set!"

Flicker leaned on the pole next to her, trying to remember. There was so much chatter it was hard to think! She focused on the gentle waving of the banner attached to the pole beside her, watching its shadow move over the floor, much like the balloon above. But this shadow wasn't floating, it was rippling in the wind, like a w- Aha! That was it! Waving!


Flicker perked up and gave the flag in her mouth a wild shake, waving it back and forth in time with the pony across from her. All around her the sound of hooves burst atop the earth, and the edge of Ponyville erupted in stampede as the great crowd of ponies gathered surged forth across the starting line. "Oh how exciting!!!" Flicker thought to herself as the rush of so many ponies flowed past her. "Good luck to everypony!"

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This is it! The Running of the Leaves. Zephyr had never participated in races before, but he is very fit. 'A shame I can't use my wings, but gotta keep things fair for others.' Lots of excitement, so many ponies in the race, and so many more watching. He glances around to size up the competition. There were looks to be lots of very fit ponies around, it was going to be a tough race. Zephyr looks back at the number on his flank. The number '28'. What a coincidence to get that number. He looks forward at Flicker, who seems nervous. 'What's she got to be nervous about? She's not even racing, oh well.' It was about to start...

"On your marks!"

A nervous tingle struck through Zephyr's back. It was starting! He got ready to dash even before...

"Get set!"

Here it is, it's going to start, the next second is where it all counts. He looks straight ahead, putting more weight on his forelegs, ready to go...


Zephyr kicked off with with hindlegs as hard as he could to get up to full speed as quick as possible. He wasn't the fastest pegasus around, but what he lacked in speed, he could make up for in stamina. He was sent all over Equestria as a mail delivery pony. He was used to long flights. Much different than running, but used to long bouts like this.

The sound the competition, all the hooves pattering about on the ground, it was exciting... and fun! Zephyr was full of energy and giving it his all at the start. He knew he'd need to pace himself eventually, but for now, he wanted to sprint. The colors of fall down here in Ponyville sure was pretty... but no time for that, there's a race to win.

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Survey was standing at the line, rubbing his hooves, making sure everything was okay. ''Alright, i got everything.. i think..'' he said as he levitated a scribbled note. ''Check.. check.. check..'' he kept on repeating, not noticing the voice shouting.

''On your marks!''

''Check.. check.. wait a second...'' he muttered to himself, as he began searching through his bags, ignoring the distant voice. ''Where is that.. stupid.. thing..'' he said frustrated, as he kept on searching, trying to find the missing object. He threw the bag on the side, and started looking around, getting nervous. ''It has to be around here..'' he muttered again, walking around and looking at the ground, hoping to find his precious item, bumping into several other ponies.

''Get set!''

He started to ask other ponies if they had seen his lost object, hopelessly wandering around. He sighed, and sat down, already a bit tired, and jumped right back up.''OUCH!'' he yelled, looking at the cause of the pain, and chuckles nervously, seeing that it was his missing object, his beloved Puzzle Cube. ''Oh, there you are!'' he said, picking up the cube. ''Great, so now i just have to grab my bag an-'' he was cut of by the by a loud voice.


He shrieked, and started to run towards his bag, however was taken away by the big group of runners, holding his Puzzle Cube tightly with him, to make sure he wouldn't drop it. ''My bag!'' he yelled, trying to get to reach his bag, however being shoved and pushed by the whole horde of ponies running the other way left him with no chooice but to abandon his bag. ''Well, this is going to be a fun time..'' he said gulping, looking down at his Puzzle Cube.

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Lyra stepped up to the starting line and looked at the other ponies around her. Everypony here (and a few other creatures she could see) looked excited for the race to begin. It wasn't hard to understand why. Some were here for the competition, others because the woods were beautiful in the fall. And some simply had something to prove.

Last year Lyra's idol, Twilight Sparkle, had come in fifth place, despite never having run the race before. That was amazing, and for a unicorn to place that high as well was a pretty big deal. Lyra herself had come in a rather mediocre 26th. She promised herself should would do better this time. She'd been practicing for two weeks by jogging around Ponyville once a day. She hadn't originally intended to do that much, but Bon-Bon had insisted that if Lyra wanted to do well, she should put some effort in. That and a few subtle words like "exercise" and "weight" was all the encoragement she had needed. Poised at the starting line she gave one last stretch and bowed her head down, ready to start. Tenth place or better, that was the target. Fifth place if possible. She had no real belief in herself that she could come first place; too many highly athletic ponies around. But maybe, if there was a repeat of last years... conflicts, she might just have a chance.

"On your marks!"

"Get set!"


When the flag was waved Lyra launched herself from the starting line. Though she started with a quick burst of speed to move forward, she soon settled into a gentle pace. Pacing yourself, that was the key. Save your energy until you really need it. She looked around at the other nearby racers wondering how many of them had the same idea, and how many were simply just slow.

She decided that she would hum a song as she ran, a simple tune, but one of the first she learned to play of her lyre. Today was going to be fun.

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As he waited at the starting line, Mobius would hop from from hoof-to-hoof, initially hopping from side to side before switching to a diagonal manner, with his front left and rear right switching with his front right and rear left. A bit of limbering up before anything never hurt anypony, and it certainly wouldn't hurt before a race. A wry grin was planted upon the pale gold Pegasus' face as he glanced around at all the other ponies who had shown up. While it could have been easily mistaken for an arrogant expression, it was actually brought on by a mixture of joy and anticipation; it had been quite some time since he'd gotten to compete with other ponies. As he glanced around, he noticed a shadow passing over the crowd of ponies, as well as the crowd, prompting him to look up at the balloon above the racers. "Huh, must be plannin' t' keep an eye on everypony," he murmured to himself before chuckling, "Good. A fair race is a fun race." With a satisfied nod, he turned his gaze away from the balloon, instead looking to his flank. A sheet of paper securely fastened to either side, each reading '18.'

"On your marks!" a distant voice chimed.

Upon hearing the voice, he quickly faced forward. The Pegasus stallion then began one last quick set, his front legs sliding forward as he leaned back to stretch them before doing the same in reverse. A nervous chuckle escaped him as he heard a few light pops in a couple of his legs. Running wasn't his forte, after all; he was much more at home in the sky.

"Get set!"

"This is it," he muttered to himself as he positioned himself as close to the starting line as he could without getting disqualified, his rear hooves bent partway under him. He wiggled his body from side to side lightly, digging them in along with their twins in the front. Sure, he intended to pace himself, but he knew dozens of ponies taking off at once would mean one huge cloud of dust, and he had no intention of eating it.


All four legs moved in unison, his front two pulling while his rear two pushed, propelling the Pegasus a respectable distance forward in something of a leap, his ears flattened to his head from the brief but powerful resistance from the air. Years of landing from flights left him with a natural talent for getting his footing when coming down while still moving forward, allowing him to smoothly transition into a sprint as soon as his hooves met the ground. A full grin formed on his face as he did his best to keep towards the front of the pack, with varying degrees of success. Only a few short yards into the race, and the excitable Pegasus was unable to contain himself, letting out a loud, happy "Wooo!" Getting to participate in a competition as large and significant as the Running of the Leaves was indescribably exhilarating on its own - even to a pony of the skies. For Mobius, though, a long dormant competitive spark within took that already euphoric feeling and amplified it to even greater heights. Win or lose, today was going to be a great day for the Pegasus.

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Swift Breeze shifted his hooves in place to get better traction with the ground as he waited for the starting signal. When he had heard of the running of the leaves and its importance to his fellow pony, he decided to participate, to better understand the experience of non-pony life. It was one of the things the Masters of his temple had sent him to do, after all. After a few odd looks, the registration ponies handed him a pair of papers with the number 108 to wear for the race. Looking at the other ponies around him for reference, he affixed the labels properly and took a place.

He offered a calm smile at the occasional pony to look in his direction, though most seemed content to join their friends. A few skittish ponies quickly disappeared into the crowd instead, much to Swift's amusement. As he stood, he looked over the trees, drinking in the beauty of the changing leaves of the season. As the balloon floated overhead, he watched with fascination. He'd heard of such things, but this was the first he'd seen.

His ears perked as he heard the distant voice. He couldn't quite make out all of it, but he saw other ponies getting into a ready position. Doing likewise, his wings shifted beneath their bindings. More than anything, he would have liked to remove them, yet he knew that the leaves would not fall without the rumble of hooves. That's not even mentioning how cross his masters would be at the temple if they found out he'd taken them off for something as trivial as a race.

Again, the distant voice. His neighbors scuffed the ground with their hooves, determined gleam in their eyes. Lips were wetted in anticipation. Some of the chattering ponies quieted down. Swift took a deep, calming breath, then let his thoughts fly away, calming his mind. His ears strained.


As the ponies in the balloon waved their flags, the ponies below surged to life. Swift Breeze was no exception. He leapt into action to give validation to his name, legs pumping as he did his best to try and move ahead in the pack. His face was a mask of intensity, scanning in front of him for openings to take advantage of, or hazards in the road to avoid. He was determined to do the Mylit Elpo Nis temple proud.

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It was a gorgeous day for the Ponies who had all either arrived at the starting line, or whom had already been waiting there for a while...the sun was full, the sky as Blue as it could possibly be and the chatter of excited ponies and other creatures loud and in full flow - well, except from the familiar red Stallion currently sat on his haunches who was silently amongst them!

Big Mac had been awaiting the starting command alongside the other ponies patiently and calmly, a solitary strand of straw clenched firmly between his teeth as he glances around at the other competing variety of Equines, gryphons and other assorted critters. Not that anypony would have ever thought it, but he did enjoy a good chance to stretch his legs at the event. It was a true chance to cut loose from the farm and really push himself against the best runners and competitive ponies running that year, and Macintosh secretly loved doing it!

The stallion couldn't see AJ anywhere, or anypony else from the Apple clan - oh well, he had pretty much certain he'd probably bump into them later.

A few more tense moments later, the single anticipated command was finally given to start off todays event! "Go!!!!!!"

with a dull thunderous roar, the sound of much scrambled running started...the ground shaking as a tidal wave of competing ponies and other animals took off at a great pace, each of them trying to either outsprint or outdo the other in some way. Big Mac himself had taken off at a brisk pace, keeping himself in check as he remembered the fundamental rule of personal pacing.

For the Red Farm stallion, this was simply a personal test of strength, endurance and everything else...whether or not he was going to win didn't ultimately matter, but he knew that he probably should at least aim to finish before Applejack did. Afterall, if he lost to her then he wouldn't hear the end of it for the rest of the year {that filly sure could rub it in, given the chance}. Nope, if there was ANY pony he wanted to make sure came in behind him, it was gonna be her at the very least...and right now, he had no idea where she even was!

For now, Big Mac kept his head down and his galloping speed moderate...he needed to focus on the task at hand for now, and see what was what when things were clearer to see.

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Number 34, Klondike, casually trotted up to the line with the rest of the ponies as they prepared to start the race. Looking around to see what other ponies were doing to warm up, he decided to just follow the lead of some of the ponies that looked like they knew what they were doing. He started stretching this way and that, lunging forward and backwards, and arching his back in way that resembled more a cat than a pony. It was a plethora of cracks and snaps as his muscles stretched and relaxed and his limbs loosened up a bit.

For the past couple of months, he had been working diligently at his repair shop in Ponyville. He had been working so much so that his horrible habit of getting lost in his work and just generally being absent minded had become more of a burden than it ever was before. A kind customer let him know of the event and, since Ponyville was now his home, he figured it would be a great opportunity for him to enjoy the local festivities and get some fresh air running through his mane and hopefully clear out his head.

He was confident he would do well. All the time he spent carrying his heavy satchel of tools wherever he went had left him with more than enough stamina to spare and, what he lacked in speed, he made up for in spirit. Plus, he was here for the spirit of the event and whether he won first or finished last, he planned to knock as many of the lazy leaves as he could while enjoying a day off from work. Still, as he shot a glance at his flank, he could not help but feel some habits were hard to get rid of, even for just a day.

“Hmm, maybe I shouldn’t have used duct tape for that…” Klondike glanced at the two pieces of paper with the number 34 written on them that adorned each of his flanks, each securely taped on with a shiny gray piece of duct tape. The papers kept falling off so, using whatever odd logic repair ponies seemed to have, he did the obvious thing and used duct tape to hold them in place. “This is going to hurt when I try and peel them off…”

"On your marks!"

His right ear began twitching at the announcement as all the ponies began taking their places. Yet, Klondike was still pondering his choice in using duct tape. “Maybe if I take it off quick like a band-aid it won’t hurt. I might give myself a bold spot if I do that though. Will grow back but I’ll look just silly and…” He was snapped out of his train of thought as a lime colored unicorn with a grayish mane suddenly bumped into as he muttered ''It has to be around here..'' and looked on the floor as if searching for something.

"Get set!"

Klondike’s right ear twitched again as he raised an eyebrow in confusion and then realized he had to take his place. Following the lead of the other ponies he took his place near the starting line and smiled as he felt a surge of confidence run through him. Unfortunately though, his mind was still a messy battlefield of thoughts and ideas, as one finally won out and pulled itself to the front.

“WAIT!” He suddenly called out. “Somepony said there’d be a hot air balloon here. I’d love to get a chance to repair one of those.” He brought himself out of the starting position as he looked left and right with a big goofy grin on his muzzle, trying to spot it and causing some of the ponies in the starting line to give him odd glances. He finally spotted it in the most of obvious of places, the sky, and looked up at it as if mesmerized.


Again his right ear twitched furiously as it tried in vain to snap him out of his thoughts so that he could begin the race. His gaze slowly fell from the balloon to the herd of ponies leaving him behind in the dust.

“Oh ponyfeathers…” He quickly pushed off with his hind legs ready gallop at full speed and catch up.

''My bag!''

Klondike suddenly stopped almost falling forward and quickly looked behind him. Spotting a lonesome bag near the starting line, he quickly galloped to it and grabbed it in his mouth as he once again pushed off from the starting line for the second time since the race began. He would have to put some effort to catch up to the rest of the herd, now only a thundering cloud of dust in the distance.

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Shanna pranced eagerly into line, one of the pegasi entering the race since last year's effort by Rainbow Dash had brought many from Cloudsdale to see the event.

Some had entered because "What? a ground race? I want to try that!"

Others because they wanted to prove pegasi can run a clean race after Dash's poor sportsmanship last year.

Shanna's reason's were some of both, and now she had another reason; her brother was scratched from the race. The night before, he stepped on a nail practicing for today. She was now racing for her family as the only representative.

She stretched carefully, loosening up for the race. Last year's 5th place winner looking fresh as a daisy after the event proved it's more of an endurance race than a sprint. Well, who has more endurance than pegasi that pull a flying cart all over Equestria?

"On your marks!"

Shanna quickly got into position, leaning forward. She spared a glance at her brother, floating on a chair sized cloud with a bandaged right hind hoof and waving a small Cloudsdale flag.

"Get set!"

The bay mare trembled in excitement, fighting to keep her wings closed as she dug her hooves in. She made sure her number, "44" was stuck firmly to her flanks.


Shanna neighed and galloped in a quick sprint, using her toned muscles to good effect as the ground shook underhoof from several hundred other hooves all thundering along with her. The closer she got to the front in the starting charge, the easier to pull ahead later!

"For Cloudsdale!..AKK..Cough!"

Eyes streaming tears she took a swig from the water bottle hanging around her neck. okay, no talking during a dust cloud! Got it!


Hoss neighed and waved his flag, yelling "GO SHANNA!" and fluttered his wings to follow along behind the balloon, moving the tiny cloud around like a scooter. Their parents cheered with the croud from one of the larger spectator-seating clouds their father had made for the Cloudsdale cheering section. That cloud also followed at a slower pace with all the pegasi riding it.

The pegasus sighed and cursed his luck keeping him from the race. someone's lost nail made sure of that! He winced as his hoof twinged in pain. Two or three days off his hooves... DRAT!


Meanwhile, Madam Bistro cheered in the croud of ponies on the ground, beside a cart set up as her "Madam Bistro's Hot Chocolate" stand.

Mixing business AND pleasure watching the fun! She smiled, sure her Appleoosa location was in safe hooves with Thorn. She wondered if Maximillian Rockefilly could even conceive of her having fun doing this...

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Applejack ate a heavy breakfast. More than her usual morning routine, she ate a dozen whole apples, several pints of apple juice, and a large stack of apple pancakes with generous amounts of maple syrup on top. Applejack would never indulge this much. Not unless there was a big race she was trying to get ready for.

"100! Ha!" Applejack finished her final hoof-up and stretches at close proximity to the starting line. This was it, the annual Running of the Leaves. Applejack couldn't have waited any longer for this event to come. With all of the noise and batter that wrecked her ability to show off from last year's run, she was sure that she would prove that it was only a Rainbow disaster and that she could win this thing by a gratuitous margin of victory.

As Applejack high-stepped her way to the starting line, she picked up her racing number from the registration table. As always, she was number '8'. She has had that number ever since her first running of the leaves when she was just a filly too small for her own duds.

Applejack ran the leaves every year as was tradition and it always seemed like a thing she felt she needed to do. But contrary to popular belief, Applejack has never actually won the event. She was always competitive, but something always kept her from winning. One year, a very unfortunate maple syrup spill caused her hooves to get stuck, and by the time she got free, the pony leader had already finished the race. Last year, Applejack thinks she would have won had it not been for Rainbow Dash cheating her way to a tie for last place.

As Applejack continued making her last stretches, she walked up to the line and looked to see the other ponies who were competing in the eye. Land sakes! Applejack thought to herself. This year there seemed to be more ponies than ever, even some non-ponies! But the visualization of steep competition didn't cause Applejack any fret. "This year, I'm gonna leave that 'iron phony' in the dust, heh heh." As Applejack surveyed the starting line for tone-muscled ponies that were sure to be competitive, she realized one very important thing. "Where's Rainbow?" She queried to the ponies around her. There were so many ponies, that Applejack was positive Rainbow Dash wouldn't miss her chance to compete in this one. She even looked up to see if she was hovering above waiting to use her gift of flight as an unfair competitive advantage, but she wasn't there either. Applejack chuckled, "Heh heh, I sure hope she ain't late."


At the same time, the crowd of ponies even blinded Applejack from seeing her big brother Macintosh. She wasn't expecting him here, though. After all, with Granny cheering her granddaughter to victory, somepony had to be watching the farm. And it wasn't going to be her on this day, no way!

"On your marks!"

Applejack sprung from her final lunge to the very straight edge of the starting line. As she placed her hooves in the soft dirt, she noticed a green unicorn doing a check list as if he was bringing items along with him on this very fast trip to the other side of Whitetail Wood. And then after was looking around for something he had misplaced. Applejack couldn't resist chuckling at his dorky nature. She had never seen him before and was obvious a first timer. Running into her, the unicorn jostles Applejack out of her carefully placed hoofings. "Hay! Watch where yer going; weer tryin' to run a race here." He couldn't hear her, however, as it looked as if he was completely focused on finding his misplacings. What a rookie, Applejack thought.

"Get set!"

Applejack crouched into a pouncing position as she readied herself and the start. She licked her lips in attempt to taste a winning attitude. Next to her, she found a pegasus doing much the same thing. This pony was no dork, though. This was ready to take off the fillisecond that the race started. But the pony also seemed to have a mindful way about him, as if he had a good strategy for the race. Applejack had to make sure to pull ahead of him before the first bend into the forest.


Applejack burst forward and began eclipsing her shadow with the shadow of the trees that hung the beautiful orange red and yellow leaves from their branches. Right away, Applejack could sense without even looking back that she was already ahead of most of them. But at the same time, her apple-sense could feel the vibrations of the other pony's beating hearts with only a few hooves of her tail. She could only see the other leading ponies in the corner of her eye. Applejack was determined, though. She was looking straight ahead into the orange-tinted forest, where no pony has yet to set their hooves on. Applejack bursted with a loud competitve cheer...





"Fillies and gentlecolts! Welcome to the annual running of the leaves! This is your live radio coverage from the edge of Whitetail Wood brought to you by ESRN, the wide world leader of pony sports!

Before we start, I'd like to welcome our newest affiliate in Fillydelphia, WPNY 98.8. Thank you for joining us.

This year's race looks like it's gonna be a big one as we have more competitors than ever before! Will we have a new first time winner this year or will a previous champ continue their dominance? Well, we're about to find out.

The ponies are at the starting line and it looks like their about to start.

...Yup here they go.

"On your marks!"

"Get set!"


AND THEY'RE OFF! Who will get the holeshot!?"

Madden was excited. This was the first year he would broadcast live radio during the running of the leaves and commentate on the competitive action. But he wasn't alone though. Almost the same level as his cloud he was reporting from was a large pink balloon that was slowly hovering in the direction of the ponies. Madden's 'Commentation Cloud' moved too, but he found it interesting that somepony else was announcing with speakerphone and not him. Could it be somepony better at him at sports analysis? For the time being, Madden was willing to push those precarious thoughts aside while the run started.

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(ooc): My entry into the big race is..... MOJO!


The big day had finally arrived! It was the Annual 'Running of the Leaves' and this year, Mojo was ready for it!

The Paint stallion had always dreamed of running the race. Not for fame or glory, but because it was his way of helping the ponies of Equestria to positively affect their environment. The pretty brownish fall leaves needed to be removed from all the trees, and this was a very fun way to do it!

As Mojo prepared to take his place on the starting line, his thoughts turned to all his good friends who had came out to support him in the race today.

"I'm so happy to be here!" Mojo thought to himself. "I know Jubilee will be cheering me on! Poor ol' Wings admitted to me that she doesn't have the patience for this sort of thing. Of course, nurse Starflower lectured me on how to race safely and not overstrain meself. She's like me own mum! I turned down Misty Magic's offer to boost me speed with magic! I wanna run this race fair and square, not have a tussle like Applejack and Rainbow Dash did last year! Glad I turned down Professor Krashkop's silly invention too. Don't want to use a 'solar powered rocket pack' to win. I want to pace my steps, run a nice, even race. Like me dad used to tell me back when I was a foal, 'Compete against yourself, go for your personal best.' That's exactly what I intend to do! If I win, jolly good! If not, no sweat. It's making the leaves fall and having fun that count most."

Mojo positioned himself on the line.

"On your marks!"

Mojo steadied his Earth pony frame into a starting stance.

"Get Set!"

He now raised his rear up slightly to get a good, clean start.


And he's off! As he planned, Mojo got off the line quickly before settling into a trotting 'rythem', a pace he hoped to maintain during the entire race. The Paint brony kept his leisurely pace up, even as other competitors passed him by.

"Slow and steady wins the race," Mojo grunted as he continued his gait.


From the sidelines, Jubilee, Starflower, Misty Magic, Professor Clyde Krashkop and Louise LaMare cheered as the race started.

"GO GET'M, MODGE!" Jubilee shouted, flapping her wings in excitement.

"STAY SAFE OUT THERE!" added Starflower.

"YOU CAN VIN DIS RACE!" shouted the Pegasus Professor.

"YEEE HAW! MOJO!" added Louise.

"YAY MOJO!" shouted Misty.

"I still say Mojo should've used mein rocket pack! He vould vin dee race for sure vith it!"

"But didn't the pony you have testing it return yet?" Starflower asked as a blue stallion strapped to a large gray jetpack whizzed by from above, screaming at the top of his lungs as he shot back upward.

"Oh! Dere he is! I vish I had remembered to put an 'off' svitch on dat ting!"

"Poor Saddlesore! Maybe I can use my magic to rescue him," Misty suggested before Louise placed her front leg in front of the petite unicorn.

"Not a good idea, kid. No offense, but you're magic is far too unpredictable to try something like that."

"Hay! I'm going to watch the race from above! Who's with me?" Jubilee asked. Louise and the Professor nodded in approval as the three Pegasi took flight towards the race trail.

"Darn it! I wish I had a way to watch Mojo in the entire race!" Misty grunted, stomping her hooves as her horn accidentally began to glow. Instantly, a large square image appeared before her and Starflower. "Huh? What's this?"

"I think you just created a magical portal that is showing us Mojo in the race!" Starflower neighed as she moved next to her fellow unicorn, gazing at the portal to see Mojo trotting with the rest of the field.

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The air was saturated with excitement and intensity as countless ponies stood waiting. The annual Running of the Leaves was set to begin there in Ponyville. Ponies had come from all over Equestria, all with various expectations when it came to the race. Some ponies had come hoping to do well in the race. Some ponies had come out of duty to help with the changing of the season. Some ponies had come just to have fun. A certain griffin in the crowd, however, had come for but one reason. Gilda was there to win. She'd settle for nothing less.

As she stood waiting for the race to start, Gilda eyed the competition. There were far too many ponies in one place for Gilda's taste. It ruffled her feathers in just the wrong way being around so many of them. She couldn't see Dash around, but she doubted she'd be sitting this one out. Most of the ponies Gilda did see looked like dweebs and losers. None of them impressed her. She liked her chances with this crowd. None of them would be able to match her speed, not by a long shot. She was the fastest griffin around. She was simply better than this silly, stupid pony race. Despite that, she was completely determined to win. Smirking, Gilda recalled just why she was here...


It was a oppressively hot summer day in the heart of Raptorclaw Canyon. Gilda was hanging around a bar in Rockwington filling her beak with a cool drink to escape the heat. She was not in a very good mood. It had been months since her excursion to Ponyville now, but every so often it would still return to her. Those stupid ponies had made a mockery of her. Just thinking about them and their stupid pony town made Gilda sick. Now that Dash had decided to become lame she had no reason to ever go back there. Rainbow Dash: why couldn't she just forget that stupid pony and her lame face for good?

"Oh come on! You're kidding me!" Gilda heard someone in the bar suddenly shout out. She turned her head to see it was a red pegasus stallion with a violet mane. He was at a table with another pony and two griffins, gambling over a game of cards. "I call foul! You're a cheater." The stallion's hoof was pointed at the other pony, a pink earth pony mare with a braided pale blue mane wearing a black hat.

"Oh? I wouldn't need to cheat to beat a pony like you," said the mare with a wry smirk. "It's all skill, my friend. That and maybe a little luck."

"Now you're saying you're better than me, aren't you?" the stallion shouted, angered. Gilda smirked. She wouldn't mind seeing two ponies get into a fight. Might be kind of fun to watch.

"I don't know. Maybe I am," said the mare callously. "You don't leave a very strong impression."

"Yeah? I'll have you know I once placed third in the Running of the Leaves!" the stallion declared boldly.

The mare stared at him, puzzled for the moment. "What in the hay does that prove? Who cares about some silly race back East?"

"You don't hear a lot about such things out here in the canyon, but I hear it's one of the biggest races in all of Equestria," one of the griffins at the table spoke without much enthusiasm. "Ponies seem to take it pretty seriously. There is a certain prestige to winning it." He looked at the stallion, now rolling his eyes. "But you didn't win... You came in third..."

"Yeah, but my brother did win one year!" the stallion declared, frustrated. Needless to say, this hardly impressed anyone, griffin any pony alike.

"You really think some silly pony race is going to impress anyone here?" said the other griffin, an intimidating looking large male. "No one cares, especially not us griffins. So just sit down, shut up and deal with it. Stop interrupting the game!"

"Ah..." the stallion seemed legitimately scared. Gilda didn't blame him. That dude looked fierce, even to another griffin. "A-alright then..." he said, picking up his cards and sitting back down.

As she heard the conversation unfold, certain thoughts had begun to enter Gilda's mind. She smiled, wondering if she hadn't just thought of an excellent idea. She turned toward the table.

"I don't know, maybe us griffins should care," Gilda said in a cool voice, striding toward them. "I mean, consider this. If this race is so big to these lame ponies, what do you think they'd do if a griffin entered the thing and won it? They'd totally freak out."

"That's absurd!" the large griffin roared. "Why would a proud griffin ever sink so low as to compete in a race against ponies?"

"Says the griffin playing cards with two ponies," Gilda quipped, shaking her head. The other griffin glared at her harshly.

"That's different!" he shouted. "You're talking about an event ordained by that princess of theirs, not a casual game."

"Even so, it sounds kinda fun," said Gilda, laughing. "I'd just love to see the look on those ponies face if I were to cross that finish line first!"

"Then go for it," said the cool-eyed mare with a shrug. "Put your money on the table. Luck just might be on your side."

"Maybe I just will..." Gilda commented, nodding.

The more she thought about it, the more she liked the idea. If she won that race, she could prove how awesome her speed is. She could prove how much better griffins are next to all the lame ponies. What's more, Dash was sure to enter. Beating that stupid pony in a race would force her to realize once and for all what a big mistake she made picking those lame-o friends of her over her. Really, the thought of getting a leg up on Dash was the best part of all. Gilda smiled, now looking forward to the coming fall...


"On your marks!"

A voice called out, forcing Gilda out of her reminiscence and back to a perfect focus. She looked around. Ponies were staring at her. She glared violently at a couple of them, trying to intimidate them.

"Get Set!"

Gilda straightened her stance and took a breath. She was ready. She could do this.


The race suddenly began. All the ponies burst forth past the starting line. Gilda didn't miss a beat. The second the flags were waved, she broke into a high speed run. With all the speed of a ferocious lion chasing down it's prey, she raced past trees and ponies alike. In her mind, there was no way she was going to lose this. Though the race had just started, she could already see the finish line in her mind. She had far too much to prove not to win.

"Move out of the way, dweebs! Gilda's going to show you lame ponies how a race is run!" Gilda roared out excitedly as she continued to rush past much of her so called competition.

Crushing these ponies was going to be fun.

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Breaker stood tall over most of the ponies around him, happily munching a protien-packed strain of grass, hoping for a last minute punch of extra energy (as was his theory of what would happen with this particular strain). He looked around at the ponies nearby, a few of them pointedly looking in the other direction, pretending to focus on the starting line itself, or their stretches, adjusting their numbers. Breaker hardly noticed. He was in the zone.

Of course, he'd never run a land race before. Swimming races, absolutely! Surf competitions? A cake walk! He was the Coralwood Sandcastle Building Champion five years running, retired from that scene with dignity and honor! He could handle this. It was his sister who'd recommended he give it a try, having placed second last year. Or was it the year before? Or for that matter, was it even this race? When had he even seen her last? Breaker tilted his head, lost in his own thoughts, still munching mindlessly, trying to recall the details of his last conversation with his sister.

Suddenly, everypony around him was on the move, and it occurred to him he'd completely missed the start of the race. With a shake of his dreads, he got his hooves moving, swallowing the thoroughly mashed grass quickly and letting out a loud whoop as he cantered along with the crowd. Pacing, that was the key to any race. His height and athleticism gave him a significant advantage over many of the smaller ponies, but the sheer weight of his large frame made hard sprints difficult, evening the odds with fleetfooted, lighterboned ponies. Quite a few of those very same ponies shifted in front of him, he was, after all, slightly behind pace. He put a little more power into his stride, and soon found himself alongside a slightly disgruntled sounding griffin.

"Irie, sistren, git yeself a smile 'cross dat beak o' yourn," he shot the griffin a goofy grin of his own, a complete counterpoint to her grim determination. "Tis early in d'race yet, me feathar'd fren'." With a playful toss of his dreads he shifted to a steady gallop, keeping pace with the griffin.

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Stormsong dug her front-right hoof into the ground nervously as she stood amongst the rest of the ponies gathered, waiting for the beginning of the race. She had never so much as even thought about running in a race before; she just wasn't made for this kind of physical exertion. She would much prefer to be in a quiet clearing somewhere in Whitetail Wood, practicing her music with no one but the birds to listen. But, the Running of the Leaves had been the perfect excuse to take some time away from home, so Stormsong had told her parents that she planned to run at this year's event.

What she hadn't expected was that the rest of her family was going to come watch. She fixed her aquamarine eyes on her two sisters standing on the sidelines for a few moments before shaking her head sadly. The perfect opportunity for a vacation, wasted because of a little oversight such as not expecting family to want to come and watch.

"On your marks!", Stormsong heard from somewhere off in the distance. She glanced nervously back at the number '57' that had been attached to her blue pelt, as if hoping for reassurance that running this race wasn't a big mistake. Though she received none, she steeled herself and prepared some magic to help keep her from tripping over her long, silver mane while she was running.

"Get Set!"

With her spell in place, Stormsong faced forward, her anxiety mounting as she prepared herself for what she considered to be the exact opposite of what she wanted to be doing.


There was a great deal of shouting, though it was nearly drowned out by the sound of hundreds of hooves racing forward. Stormsong began her indolent trot past the starting line, thinking to herself 'No reason to tire myself out just yet'. She would save her energy for the end of the race in the hopes that some of the more athletic ponies here would be too tired to stop her from passing them. Meanwhile, there was plenty of beautiful scenery available for her viewing pleasure, as plenty of leaves had already begun to fall around her.

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Today was the day of the big race, and it seemed like the whole town had turned out for it, plus the country bumpkins from some distance away. Dixie scolded herself--she shouldn't think of them like that. After all, she came from an agricultural family, and whether or not they were part of high society made no impact on the no doubt vital services they provided. Dixie had no one to really cheer for--although she had encouraged Bonnie to enter the race, the self-conscious zebra had in her own way refused adamantly, and Dixie, knowing when an argument was lost, had at long last given up. Of course she wasn't going to run herself, being unsuited to such endeavours in the extreme, but it did provide an interesting distraction and was an excellent social backdrop, with the chance to meet ponies from all around. This was the main reason she had come, taking a breather from her coursework in Trottingham, and she was looking forward to spending the next couple of days enjoying herself.

"Have fun, everypony!" she called after the thundering herd, and turned to see who was left.

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Bramble Rose carefully reviewed his notes, the small, ragged notebook floating in front of him along with a quill. He looked up at the crowds, jotted down a few notes, then blew across the ink to dry it before closing the notebook and slipped it into his saddle bags. The slim, slender little purple unicorn stallion with the long, silky silver mane gave himself an eager shake and stood up, giving a few prancing steps to work out his nerves.

It was very exciting. Canterlot didn't really have a strong 'Running of the Leaves' race - all the unicorns there could run for ages, but the leaves just wouldn't shake free. Bramble had asked one of the professors at the university, Doctor Four Seasons. She was an expert in the theory behind maintaining the environment, and she'd explained to Bramble that while the theory wasn't proved, her own understanding was that it wasn't really the vibrations of the hooves that shook the leaves down, it was the inherent magic in all ponies - a connection to the earth and its plants and animals that mostly resided in the blood of earth ponies. A natural magic more subtle than the unicorn's flashy spell-work.

Bramble had been very interested - his own magic wasn't the sort of celestial magic that the top class of unicorns enjoyed, nor the general, delicate, pure magic that so commonly was used by the unicorns of Canterlot. Bramble's magic *was* the earthy magic that was so close to that of earth ponies, and he really looked forward to seeing if that could fit in better here. Already he could feel the gathering energies as the ponies clustered together, the subtle, deep energies of the earth seeming to tingle through the ground and up into his hooves, giving an energetic spring to his step. Was this what earth ponies felt all the time, connected to the earth under them? He bet that was the case!

He started to gather his own energies, but very gently, hardly making his horn glow its soft green color at all. He was so focused on the energies, and pulling his numbers - number 13 - out of his saddlebags that he accidentally ran right into another pony. The delicate little unicorn pony stumbled and dropped his saddlebags, his notebooks scattering over the ground. "Oh! Oh, I'm sorry!" he said, his voice squeaking nervously.

ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo

Purple Haze walked alongside her big brother. She wasn't going to race today, but instead was going to take advantage of the race to sell her carrot snacks in the stands! She bet she'd make a beaut of a bit t'day! Everypony who was everypony in the area was here either to race or to cheer, and Purple Haze meant to make sure that they had an even better time with her wonderful, tasty treats!

She'd been all day, every day, for the past couple of days, getting ready some garlic-roasted carrot fries, and her pickled carrots, and nice little bottles of carrot juice. Then, this morning, she'd preened and preened till her dark green coat shone, and her purple and orange mane was looking *almost* under control. She was so excited!

But first, she needed to see her big brother off to the starting line! She had a nice, big bottle of fortified carrot smoothie for him to drink, first - it'd keep him nice and hydrated for the race, and help him to run his best! It was good enough for working in the fields all day - it must be good for running, too!

But just as she was taking the cap off to give it to her big brae, suddenly a little filly went running into him, bumping him into her and almost making her spill the drink she'd prepared so carefully! She bristled, and yelled, "Oye! Watch yerself, ye dozy tat! Ye cannae jes take a dobber intae me brae an' be done withit, ye slecher!"

She grumbled angrily, and offered the bottle up to her big brae again.

ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo

Bramble Rose stared nervously at the two ponies he'd run into. He could barely understand a *word* they were saying, but the little filly seemed awfully angry at him. He just stammered nervously, scooping the notebooks into his bags, and the older gray colt very politely helped him pick them up, seeming a lot more polite about things. He *wished* he could tell what either of them were saying! They were speaking Equestrian, to be sure, but with such a strong accent that the words just washed over him without meaning!

He blushed, but softly said, "Thank you," as the stallion helped him to put the 13's on his flanks, marking him for the race, the notebooks mostly stowed. He needed to get his bags put away before the race -


Bramble jumped. He hadn't even noticed that the race was starting! Oh no! He took off, leaving his bags where they were - he was sure no one would take them. But he needed to run this race! The power surged through his legs as he felt that indefatigableness the earth ponies were known for swelling out through the massive herd, the magic tingling through him, energizing him even as he sent his own magic out to join with everyone else's, and past them, into the trees. He felt the swell of magic, thudding in his heart with the rhythm of hundreds of hooves, a thrill like nothing he'd ever felt before!

No, this wasn't just how earth ponies felt ... this was like flying!

ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo

Purple Haze sighed, and screwed the top back onto the jar. Her brae had just gone and raced off without taking even a sip! Of course, he always got all forgetful around a pretty face. Ah well - she had carrots to sell!

"Go Brae!" she yelled after her brother, though she doubted she could be heard over the thunder of hooves, then she hurried back to the stands and got her teeny little cart. "Garlic carrot fries!" she called out happily. "Pickled Carrots! Carrot Juice!"

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Carrot Fields had only moved to the outskirts of Ponyville within the last year to start his own farm and carry on the family tradition in a new land, a new home. There was more to being a good citizen than just being a productive member, it also meant getting involved with the local concerns and traditions of Ponyville, and to get to know his new neighbors. This particular tradition was just another way to become more involved with life here, and besides - he loved competitive sports, and what was more competitive than a race? Sure, the real reason was to knock down all the leaves, something done by magic in his home valley as it was so close to Canterlot, but the real fun was in testing one's own athletic ability!

It was rather ironic Carrot felt this way, as he tended to be rather shy and unsure about many things, but not sports. He was an earth pony, after all, and a farmer to boot. He had to be in excellent shape just to do his daily job! Lots of their games were different than the athletic contests back home - no caber bucking here, it seemed - but running was running no matter where you were! Besides, his sister would be watching from the stands, and he had to admit he wanted to impress her, to show that her big brother was a strong stallion who could take care of her. Nothing made him so happy as when she looked up to him with shining, proud eyes. It made him feel like he was twenty hands tall.

She was walking with him now, alternating between giving him excited advice and even more excitedly talking about how eager she was to be selling her carrot treats all by herself! He worried about her, of course, but he was also so proud of her. She was truly a credit to the family, always selling her carrot treats, so confident and sure of herself, so dedicated to the family business. He gave her a warm smile, and nodded with that little look they had between them. They didn't need to say anything, they understood each other.

Reaching the starting line, he stretched, limbering himself and trotting in place as part of the warm up. He was number 12, a number given at random it would appear. Looking about as the race was about to begin, he set himself up as close to the starting line as it was reasonable to do. Here he was surprised at the variety of contestants more so than the number. "I dinnae ken pegasi and unicorns hied tae this race, I ken it was fer earth ponies!" Not that it mattered - in a way, it made it more interesting, especially since the pegasai had to stay on the ground. He'd actually be racing pegasi! He had to admit, this was the closest he'd ever gotten to that dream!

Then he saw her - a griffin! A griffin in the race! Now that made things interesting, he never competed against a griffin before in anything! He'd only seen griffins at a distance, even! Oi wonder how fast they can run?!

On your mark...

Of course, there was one other thing Carrot couldn't help but notice, being a young stallion only a couple years out of colt-hood, and that was all the beautiful fillies in the race. He recognized almost none of them, though he thought one of them was the one who ran the apple farm next door to his own carrot farm that he had seem from a distance from time to time. He knew so few ponies still in the town, but he couldn't help but "observe" the multitude of lovely young mares here now, all into racing, looking fit and trim and toned. His thoughts began to wander from the fun race to even more pleasant pursuits ... he wondered if he'd bump into anyone, perhaps strike up a conversation ...

Get set!

As Carrot's mind was wandering with visions of the lovely fillies around, somepony really did bump into him from behind, jarring him back to reality. "Ach! Oi'm roit here, aren't Oi? What's gain' doon nae?" Looking back with rather aggressively, he saw only a small unicorn looking back, wide-eyed and a bit scared, already apologizing in a voice that seemed too high pitched to be a stallion. Carrot immediately felt a bit embarrassed about his sharp words, and even more so as Purple Haze started scolding the unicorn so harshly. Well, Purple called the unicorn a filly, and he knew she was more observant than he was...

"Oye, Purple! Dinnae be sae rude! Oi'm sorry, lassie, lemme help ye oot there." Carrot smiled shyly and helped scoop up the notebooks, stuffing them into the saddlebags laying there, then saw the two numbers laying in the dirt. "Oye! Thirteen, issit? Oi'm just un less, meself! Coinky, innit? Lemme givve a bit a' aid there!" He picked up the numbers in his teeth, and pasted them to the unicorn's flanks, giving the number a light pat to make sure they were nicely in place.

"Nivver fash, Oi'm a roit mess meself." Carrot grabbed the last of the unicorn's notebooks with his teeth, determined to hand it back before the flag dropped.


Too late! Carrot quickly turned his head around, notebook still clenched in his teeth as he almost instinctively took off! "Faith and Begoorah, Oi almost missed the start!" He galloped to catch up with the pack, the notebook held firmly in his teeth. He couldn't give it back now, not if he wanted any chance to win!

Well, it'd give him a chance to meet her again later!

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Clutch Vibrafang, better known as DJ SOUNDBYT3 in clubs, had decided to join in this strange event called the "running of the leaves". He hadn't been outside, away from his old home for very long since his.....'banishment', so he had no idea what to expect with such a thing. Still, a race was indeed something he could easily understand, as Diamond Dogs were trained from when they came of age to dig fast and move fast. If he could pull off what he knew from back then here, it'd be a cinch for him to become the victor in all of this.

"So, this is the big compo we gonna race in, huh?" He said to himself as he walked passed various Ponies with numbers on their sides. "Not bad. Methinks i'm gonna have some fun with this...." The Diamond Dog DJ walked up to the registering table and looked at the mare sitting there. "I'm gonna enter this thing, so yeah" He said, looking at her. "This is quite a surprise " Said the mare as she pulled a piece of paper from under the table, "But anypony who's willing to join in is welcome to at least participate." She handed it to him and then told him "Now then, good luck with the race, and remember that it's all in good fun."

Clutch took the paper, a 65 written on it, and placed it on the side of his shirt/vest. He then walked over to the starting line, ready to show them all what a Diamond Dog can do when you have him run his fastest. He reached his destination after a few seconds of walking and then positioned himself, waiting for the start of the race to begin.

On Your Marks!

Clutch looked to each side of his current position, seeing the Ponies and Stallions that were ready to race and give it their all. He knew that this was not exactly going to be as easy a race as it would seem to be, but he was ready to give it one hundred percent of his all. At least to prove what a Diamond Dog was capable of, of course.

Get Set!

He lurched forwards a bit, left paw pushing into the ground, while his right paw in the air behind him. He was ready to move the second it was time to start. His right leg began sliding a bit while pushing into the ground, trying to be ready to move at any moment, but he quickly corrected his posture. He wanted to be able to be fully ready to run as fast as he could when it was time to begin. His poofy tail wagged as he became more focused on what was in front of him, feeling excited about what was to come soon. He was ready, and thus was about to move.


Clutch then sprang into action, quickly. He moved both his legs quickly, quickly overtaking a couple of slow-movers before bolting away from the starting line. The rush of adrenaline was amazing to him, feeling the wind on his face and the ground almost feeling as if it wasn't even there. His body wasn't exactly made for digging or for burly tasks, but his legs on the other hand were in peak condition. He had no idea where this was going to end, but he was at least give it the full effort, hopefully for the chance to win. and for him, that was the best thing he could hope to try to do.

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What a glorious day it was! A glorious day for a race, especially. It was not her forte, to say the least, but Holly Dash had something in her that just couldn't resist a race! Maybe it was the little ounce of 'Dash' that she had in her. She wasn't a slow pony to say the least--there were times where she'd travel between towns in her cart in half the time that it took some other travelin' ponies she knew. Her number was plastered over her cutie mark and she was rarin' to go!

She jogged in place lightly on her hooves, impatiently watching the ponies around her gather, the balloon rise into the air, filled with hot air. She had heard tales of the running of the leaves back home in Beakbreak, but it was something all too different to actually be here. Her whole body was practically pulsing with excitement!

Somepony with a thicker build budged past her, grunting as he did so, and flashing her a nasty look. She frowned, and stuck her tongue out at the bully of a stallion.


The shout caught her off-guard, and before she knew it, everypony else had passed her by, and she was left coughing in the dust.

"Ugh! *hack hack* that no good *cough* stupid *hack* son of a donkey!" she reared up and pawed the air with her hooves in a fury, before stampeding after the variously colored rear ends of all the ponies passed. She found the hindquarters of the stallion who had shoved her, and picked up her pace, smashing into his shoulder and pushing him aside before rushing past him, and settling into pace at about the middle of the runners--not rushing to the front, but not doing the 'pace yourself' routine at the rear of the pack. She was pacing herself, of course, but in her own way.

With a grin on her face, she ran on light hooves. She was gonna win this thing!

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When Dotty Droll's aunts told her that they were going to Ponyville to see Running of the Leaves they left out an important detail.

You signed me up for the race?! You..you tricked me!?

Nonsense! When I said we were goin' to watch the race I meant Prim n' me. I never said anythin' about you watchin'. Just said you were comin'.

Aunt Doily chuckled as she tied a hoof knit scarf around Dotty's neck. Dotty, head bent down in defeat, whimpered.

Enough o' that blubbering! You and your moaning! When I was your age I woulda give me left hoof to run in this race! Now you're going to run for the honor of Unique Antiques and make us proud!

Aunt Prim lifted Dotty's head so she was looking her in the eye. Dotty bit her lip and nodded.

She picked up her racer number 23 and Aunt Doily helped her stick it on her flank. Both aunts had suggestions of how Dotty should run the race. Prim said it was the amount of leaves you brought down that mattered not your speed. Doily thought it would be a good idea to run backwards so Dotty could see how leaves fell. Dotty nodded sullenly. She started to feel queasy as she approached the starting line and the other racers. Everypony was all a buzz with excitement but, Dotty had just wanted a peaceful day watching the race. Now here she was right in the middle of things. Dotty Droll's aunts could talk her into anything.

Dotty looked around at the other racer's excited faces. She felt relieved to see a few who looked nervous too.

On your marks!

Dotty pawed the ground anxiously. Her new goal was to get through the race quickly while following her aunts instructions. She could still hear them yelling tips from the crowd.

Be sure not to lose your scarf! It's a bit nippy today!

Make every step count! Stomp those hooves!

The two old mares were attracting a lot of attention. Dotty cringed.

Get set!

Dotty sighed. She turned her attention to the long winding path ahead. I hope there are resting spots along the way. The racers were getting in position. Dotty did her best to copy their stances. She tried to get herself psyched up.


Dotty stumbled forward as she got pushed and nudged by other racers, giving a weak cry.

For Unique Antiques!

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“What have I gotten myself into?” thought Seeker, making his way to his start position. He’d heard of course of the strange traditions1 of the ponyfolk living on the plains beyond the desert, dealing with the changing seasons with elaborate rites..

“On your Marks!”

…but that wasn’t at all what he had pictured. On his way he had heard that the Running of the Leaves was ‘one of those events one definitely shouldn’t miss’, that's what the locals had told him, and his way led him here anyway, so he entered. But it seemed so chaotic to him, all those different ponies from all over the plains and beyond. And he was almost certain he had seen the shape of a griffin somewhere in the crowd…

“Get set!!”

…and of course he had taken Blacky aside beforehand to make sure he understood that a dog can’t just run among galloping Ponies, but now it didn’t seem to be so much of a difference anymore. It would have been a feeble attempt to hold the dog back, of course, but on the other hand he was trained good enough trust Seeker. He would run along outside the main track. Everything would be fine...


…the forest isn’t that thick. And we traveled past the Everfr…

Seeker felt dozens of ponies pushing past him and he had to press his hoof into the ground with all his might not to fall over. The sudden realization hit him that he missed the start! The main field already pushed past him. As he decided to start the race with a sprint. As he quickly accelerated into a gallop, he glanced to the left, looking for Blacky. The dog ran level with him, just outside the treeline.

“Good dog.”, he thought. And then “Great, just Great.”

OOC: 1:Seasons in deserts a very different from the ones in temperate regions, that's why this seems so foreign to him.

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"Hey Mayday, are you going to give yourself the same speech before you storm into fire scene like you always do?" She thought to herself.

Then there is an audible chuckling... "Naww.... Come on, this is just a run, the point is to make the leaves fall... make friends... Have fun." She responds to her own thought, in thought.

All these internal dialogs aside, there have been very little fanfare in her wake. Beside getting her number assigned and the sticker on a rather itchy position. She simply heads to the position.. behind most of the ponies to maximizes the advantages of a more solid ground after previous stepping and slipstream. "Remember you are just going to have fun? This is totally taking it overly seriously." she thoughts to herself, then she counters her own thought, again. "You know what they say right? Sportsmanship and all, but if you give me a pony who don't care about winning, I will show you a loser."

"On your marks!" a distant voice chimed.

".... You never liked being a loser, right?" another thought flash into her mind.

"Get set!"

".... then I better give them a lasting first impression." This, concludes her thought for the moment.


Her thought empty out for a moment. Closing her eyes for the brief amount of time between announcement as if the world have slowed down enough for her to savor the atmosphere. She is in a crowd of ponies in a brand new town. The signal have been given. The shot was heard, but she also heard something else in the crowd as soon as she started running. "Good luck, everypony?" she opens her eyes, and decided to respond. "You too! Good luck, and have fun!" she speaks up. Unknown to her whether any pony heard that, but that doesn't really matter to her at this point. Now it is time to focus on the road. For it is Running of the Leaves time!

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Harmony Everskies decided to take part in the Running of the Leaves, as it was always fun and she didn't come here to win but to have a good time. She looked at her royal bird and smiled to him.

You want to stick to my mane with me or fly in the trees? Flighty hid in Harmony's mane and sometimes poked his head out from it to see where they were at the moment. She took one of the places and prepared to her run.

"On your marks!" when Harmony heard this she was becoming nervous, she looked at her mane and prepared to jump, she started to whisper to her bird

I know we are here for fun Flighty, but I'm a bit nervous, wish me luck... I don't want to be last. Flighty started stroking Harmony's hair to make her feel better.

"Get set!"

Harmony prepared herself, getting nervous again, but Flighty got the situation under control, making her feel better in any way he could.

"Go!!!!!!" She knew it is time and Harmony started to run, but not too fast. She had some knowledge about running and knew that running as fast as she could from the start was not a good idea.

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Dusty was going to win and that was the end of it, pulling trains with the sun heard for days at a time makes this look like a race for foals!

he gets in the line towering over ever pony "ya foals may want to drop out now... a true Stallion is racing here!" he sinkers to his self, if he last... his dad well just kill him be being that bad, wining this was a must no and or if's that was that...

"On your marks!" he drinks some cider, he has a look that says 'I don't care if the world was on fire'

"Get set!" he digs his hooves in and spits at a pony close to him "get in my way and ah run you over."

"Go!!!!!!" the land under his hooves got ripped to shreds as he pushed off ever mussel in him moves under his skin like a sea, he slams pony's out of the way cussing at them as he passes. Hold on was that Shanna? he comes close to tripping on seeing her, she never did give me that kiss! he runs in fruit of her so she HAS to know he is in this too... looks like this may be fun after all.

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Pinkie Pie bounded up to the starting line. After watching all the fun last year, she'd decided she needed to join the actual race this year. Not to be competitive, she had no real desire to try to beat them, but Twilight had had a blast last year, and Pinkie didn't want to miss it because she was announcing again. She glanced up and waved amiably in the direction of the balloon floating overhead. She wasn't sure who was announcing, but it was nice of them to take her job so she could run this year.

Pinkie checked over herself. Her race number was securely fastened to her flank, displaying the number π for all to see. Where most of the other numbers were printed in black, Pinkies was, appropriately, in pink. The race coordinated had been a bit confused by her number, but had written her into the registry anyway, and now she was right up at the starting line with a whole lot of other ponies. Some of them started doing strange dances, and Pinkie, never one to be outdone, started doing one of her own, not realizing the other ponies were actually just warming up and stretching.

"On your marks!" came the voice from above, and Pinkie crouched down, putting on a comically serious face.

"Get set!" Pinkie grinned disconcertingly at one of the ponies next to her. "Isn't this EXCITING!?" She burbled happily at her neighbors in line. "Ooh, there's Applejack! Hi Applejack!" She waved at the orange earth pony off in the distance, but AJ seemed not to notice. "There sure are a lot of ponies this year. We're sure to get all the leaves this time."


And then Pinkie was in the air, leaping from the starting line with boundless enthusiasm. She smashed down, colliding with a couple of other ponies in the process. "WHEEEEEEEE HEE HEE HEE HEEE!" She giggled and bounced along, the idea of conserving energy the furthest thing from her mind until she realized she'd actually pulled ahead of the pack. That was no fun, what was the point of running if you weren't surrounded by friends and acquaintances? She slowed down to hang out in the pack, still keeping to her strange, bouncing gait.

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