The Desert Classic was just that, classic desert. Just when I was hoping for a reprieve from the heatafter Hawaii, Arizona bumped it up a notch. Temperatures were in the mid-90’s, and hit triple digits at several points along the way. The air was bone dry, with a tailwind on the way out, and a headwind on the return. Perfect conditions for sitting in a pool all day. Not so great for running.
But 46 of us did just that, we ran. We band together, put our heads down, and ran. And oh was itglorious. The desert dished out everything it could; heat, wind, scorching asphalt, but nothing could break our collective spirit. The tenacity and grit displayed by the runners today was unbelievable. Conditions became downright savage, yet the group remained steadfast and resolute, seemingly impervious to the hostile elements beating down upon us. Sweat dripped from every pour, but we didn’t stop. Even as the wind whipped in our face and tried to tear us down, we wouldn’t give up.
Anyone who had the courage to stand on that starting line this morning is a hero in my eyes. These were some of the most foreboding running conditions imaginable, and every single person out there gave it their best. Even for the most seasoned of veterans, this marathon was a definitive test of perseverance and resolve, yet, astonishingly, five first-time marathoners managed to complete the endeavor. How they made it to the finish line is a testament to the power of the human spirit.
Over the course of the run, the support crew doled out 90 gallons of liquid, and burned through 80 pounds of ice to keep us going. The conversations along the road were once again just amazing. Stories of loss and renewal, struggle and triumph. Stories that brought tears to my eyes, and stories that filled my heart with optimism and hope. So many people came up to me at the finish line and thanked me for making it all possible. I gracefully accepted these offers of appreciation, but knew in my heart that it wasn’t me who made it all possible, it was you.
I boarded the bus for marathon #20 a little sunburned, and a lot inspired. Thank you to 46 terrific runners for making it all possible.
From the winding road to Nevada,