Is helping others more worthwhile than helping yourself? In the beginning of the story, “Raymond’s Run”, Squeaky (Hazel), the female protagonist, has her heart set on winning the upcoming, local 50-meter dash and beating the antagonist, Gretchen. However, at the end of the race, Squeaky transforms. She is still driven to run, but instead of using her skills to help her win races, she wants to apply them to her older brother, Raymond, to teach and benefit him.
Raymond gets bullied on many occasions as he’s growing up because he has learning disabilities. The usual oppressor is Gretchen flanked by two girly cronies. Squeaky is quite defensive and protective of her brother and always warns anyone who messes with Raymond that they’re in her neighborhood and better watch it. Because she wants to keep up her title around the neighborhood of “the fastest thing on two feet”, and she wants to stop Gretchen and her pals picking on Raymond, Squeaky is desperate to win the 50-meter dash and beat Gretchen.
The day of the race arrives and Squeaky lines up on the racetrack with the other 5 girls participating, along with Gretchen. BANG! The pistol’s trigger gets pulled and off they rocket. As she’s running, Squeaky sees Raymond on the other side of the fence, sprinting with all his might, trying to keep up with his little sister. The black-and-white finish line draws near and the race ends.
While she’s catching her breath and holding a stitch in her side, Squeaky looks up at Gretchen and hears the loudspeaker go off. “In first place-Miss Hazel Elizabeth Deborah Parker,” She smiles at Gretchen who smiles back (the sort of “Congratulations!” smile). Squeaky, or rather Hazel, remembers Raymond running on her other side, and the idea she develops blows off the ego-boost she had when she won. It occurs to her that Raymond would make a very fine runner. She starts jumping up and down at the prospect of coaching Raymond to run, and maybe the new pleasant Gretchen would want to help too.