Today was surreal. If someone had said to me a year ago that I’d be running the Seafair Marathon on a random Saturday with 48 other runners and police escorts blocking traffic to hold the course open for us, I would have said “no way.” But that’s exactly what happened today.
And beyond that, I had so many of the runners afterward thanking me, saying things like this was their most enjoyable run ever. Imagine that, people thanking me for running. I should be thanking them, and I hopefully I was able to adequately express my gratitude, because I am forever grateful to those 48 individuals for making today so special.
Not everyone had intentions of running the full marathon. Some ran a few miles, some ran a half-marathon, some did twenty, and a few who had originally said they were only going to do the half, ended up completing the entire marathon. There were three first-timers that finished the marathon today, and a number of folks that PR’ed. When you think about it, that’s absolutely remarkable. It’s been astonishing to watch people rise to the occasion during these runs and go farther and faster than ever before. It’s a phenomenon I can’t quite explain, so I’ve stopped trying to make sense of it. All I know is that it’s been about the most inspirational experience ever witnessing the things I’ve seen people do over these past two weeks.
The runners today were spirited and determined; proudly, almost half were women. Initially I was concerned that 48 people would be able to hold together closely enough, especially given the fact that we were traversing some heavily trafficked roads. But it all worked out, and we ended up getting more car honks of encouragement than anything else.
The stories I heard today could fill this blog for the next year. One runner had lost 120 lbs. and had run seven marathons (this was his eighth). Another had a tradition of running one marathon a decade, but decided to run two when he learned about this event. A mother of four completed the marathon, and then ran, quite literally, to a child’s birthday party. My dear friend Topher Gaylord (who performed the wedding service before the first marathon) was represented by two of his brothers, one who had never run a marathon before, and his sister-in-law, and we all ran the marathon together. Then there was the college student who this morning at 5:00 AM got up the courage to sign up, and ended up completing the marathon.
Overall, this was the biggest event of the tour thus far. And if today is any indication, the running spirit is alive and well in the Pacific Northwest. My thanks to you all.
Sleepless in Seattle, and thoroughly enjoying every second of it,
P.S. Some pretty scary things are still coming out of my nose, but I think my cold’s on the mend.