Lincoln Marathon, Nebraska
Number of Runners: 21
Weather: 64 degrees, partly cloudy
Last night was miserable. Not from the running, but from the cold I’ve come down with. Perhaps it comes as a result of the abrupt climate changes we’ve been running in over the past few days, or maybe I caught a bug during all the travel; either way, I was up half the night with a raging head cold.
It was difficult dragging myself to the starting line at 7:00 AM this morning, I really wasn’t sure how things would go today. That all changed when I met the other runners and got swept up by their energy. Originally I was told there would be 15 runners joining me in Lincoln, though upon departure from the start at the Nebraska University Coliseum, there were 21. Many had no intention of running the entire distance, they just wanted to come out and show their support while running a few miles. Others were dedicated to covering the full marathon distance. And boy did they!
Three of the group had never run a marathon before, two had run more than a hundred marathons, andone just ran the Lewis & Clark with me last weekend. Conditions were absolutely ideal as we progressed along what proved to be a very scenic course. By the 20 mile mark, however, we were all feeling the strain. I’m not sure how to define what happened next, but it is a phenomenon that’s been occurring during these marathons around the 20 mile mark. My best description of what happens at mile 20 is that the group collectively bans together as a single working entity. Everyone seems to feed off each others energy and a sense of renewal pervades, even among those that are struggling.
The last 6.2 miles were covered with guts and passion, and we crossed the finish line hand-in-hand as a team. The three first timers were just amazing throughout, and watching them finish brought tears to my eyes. Two of the group set marathon PR’s, and one of the seasoned veterans who was initially only going to run a half-marathon training run decided to go the entire distance.
The athletes I met today were so warm and cordial, each with a unique and remarkable story, and I enjoyed my run with them tremendously. There wasn’t always a bathroom in the right spot, food and beverage wasn’t at every mile mark, we had to stop for traffic periodically and share the path with bicyclist, yet I didn’t hear a single complaint from any of the runners. Literally not even the slightest hint of a gripe.
It was all positive, and that’s how I’ll remember the great people who shared some miles, and some kinship, with me today in Lincoln, Nebraska.
May you go far,