This morning I skipped church and did something very cool. :) The OKC Marathon runs near my neighborhood, so I decided I wanted to go out and watch it first hand. I have several runner friends, and for years I've thought they were exaggerating the spiritual experience of a marathon. Well maybe they aren't.
I wasn't sure how many people would be out to watch, but there were a few. I had a few friends specifically who I knew were running and I was keeping an eye out for. The race started at 6:30 this morning and I was going to watch at mile 25, so I went out about 9am. I missed the fastest finishers, but that was okay.
The whole experience was quite moving. There were quite the variety of participants. There were the full marathoners, the half-marathoners, and relay teams. By the colors of their numbers you could tell who was who. It also designated who were first time marathon runners. There were also those running for a variety of causes. Several runners came through carrying flags of the different branches of the armed services (yes, carrying a full sized flag on a pole through a marathon). Two soldiers in full fatigue uniforms and packs were going through the course (photo below). Several schools (including OC), business, and non profits were out (Relay for Life had a great showing). Since it is the Oklahoma City bombing memorial marathon, there were many people wearing signs that read, "Running in honor of ________". Ages ranged from high schoolers to 70 year olds. This will sound terrible, but I was amazed how many old people were out there! :) I don't know how you can be 65 and up and do a marathon still! And look good doing it!
There were also a variety of athletic abilities represented. Since I was near the end (and also at the top of a hill), I saw the spectrum. Some were finishing strong. Others obviously had serious cramps or blisters. There were tears. There were friends helping each other. There were smiles when we told them they had 25 miles behind them. :)
It was a great experience. So many participants were so grateful for us being out there to cheer, but really they did my heart a lot of good and inspired me to tackle some dreams of my own. However, I did suffer a minor injury. When I got home I had the worst crick in my EVER. I still have it. I guess three hours of clapping might do that to you. :) Congrats to everyone involved!