I’m not overly suspicious, but the number 13 has a certain aura surrounding it. I woke up this morningthe sorest I’ve been since the beginning, hopeful that this was just a coincidence and not related to the 13th marathon. Then I did a radio interview in which the host asked how far my marathon would be today? When I responded that all marathons are 26.2 miles, he asked if today would be my longest. Weird.
But the second I walked outside and smelled the fresh Idaho air, I knew things would go well today, despite the oddities this morning and it being marathon #13. There were 18 terrific runners waiting at the start, one of which I had just met last night and she decided at three in the morning to join us. There was a runner from San Francisco that had flown out, a runner from New Mexico, and a runner that had traveled from Alabama to run with the group.
With a boisterous sendoff from the crowd, we headed off down Main Street through the central section of town. There was plenty of diversity in the crowd today, from some younger ultrarunners, to some seasoned marathon veterans, to a Minister who was running his first marathon. Our armed forces have been well represented throughout the Endurance 50, and today we had an esteemed member of the Special Forces running with us.
The course proceeded through some beautiful, tree-lined residential districts that shaded the road and helped keep temperatures lower. There was almost no wind whatsoever, so the air warmed quickly as the day wore on. We moved along at a comfortable pace, the group holding together through the halfway point, swapping stories and sharing laughs. At just past mile sixteen and at mile twenty, a couple neat things happened. The following commentary comes from an email the Race Director, Jeff Ulmer, sent to the Endurance 50 event manager, Jim Anderson (Jeff, I hope it’s okay to use this):
That was one of the coolest events I have been involved with… Two things that hit me during the Boise event.
1) It was the 13th race, we ran down 13th street, to one of my running groups favorite hangouts, Lucky13 Pizza. Everyone stopped running and stood by the Lucky 13 sign in their #13 bibs and Deans #13 singlet, and snapped a group photo, awesome!
2) Dean was high fiveing, shaking hands, and talking to kids along the course, but at mile twenty there was a group of Catholic school kids waiting for him who were on a field trip just to see him. They were all standing kind of in a half-circle awaiting his arrival. He ran over and got down on one knee so he was eye to eye with them and they immediately closed ranks around him and were slapping hands, reaching out just to touch him or pat him on the back. It was a wonderful moment, I looked over at my friend who was in my jeep with me, and her eyes were welled up, I asked her if she was making fun of me and she said no I was just checking to make sure you were seeing the same thing I was seeing. Yep my eyes were already teary. Very cool, very touching, and something I will always remember."
At the finish, my daughter and son were holding the ribbon across the line, and we runners ran through hand-in-hand, united as one. Jeff, my eyes were teary too. It was another remarkable moment that I feel blessed to have shared with a terrific group of uplifting and positive individuals. Running brought us together, and the spirit that we shared out on the road today—the highs, the lows, the struggles and the triumphs—formed a bond between us that will last forever.
Inspired in Idaho,