Everything in Texas is BIG, and today was true to form. We had the BIGGEST number of participants,the BIGGEST waiting list, the BIGGEST storm, the BIGGEST number of first-time marathoners, the BIGGEST number of volunteers, and the BIGGEST rifle in the back of a pickup truck I’ve ever seen.
The start was a little precarious. Rain was already coming down pretty strong, and it took the Dallas Police longer than anticipated to get traffic under control. We runners stood around shivering in the dark, getting drenched. When the starting countdown finally got underway, the rumble of thunder sounded the gun.
It was the first storm of the season and the rain came down in buckets, flooding the streets and washing out intersections. Lighting flashed in the sky, and the crack of thunder filled the air. Navigating around the pools of water was nearly impossible, so eventually everyone just stopped trying and ran right through the middle. It was a disconcerting start to the day.
But the runners didn’t mind, and all that I talked to said they preferred the rain to the Texas sun. Along with the locals, in the group today were runners from Mexico, Honduras, Canada, and Turkey (Texas, that is, population 407…and growing! he reminded me). This was our largest group ever. Originally our permit only allowed 50 participants, but we had a waiting list twice that long, and after multiple tries we were eventually able to add an additional 25 slots.
To help support all of the runners, a dedicated posse of volunteers from Scottish Rite Hospital for Children worked their magic. They had aid-stations strategically setup along the course and were handing out fistfuls of food, water, and encouragement. They were nothing but smiles and delight, despite the rain.
The course ran through some of the prettiest, tree-shrouded neighborhoods I had ever seen. At about mile ten we entered a frontage road around White Rock Lake. The rain began to subside, and the Dallas skyline became visible in the background. The stories I heard today could fill the pages of this blog for the next week, but I’ve only got a few more minutes of internet access before we lose reception. So I’ll just say that listening to the other runners today was another soul stirring experience.
Upon crossing the finish line as a group (and it was the BIGGEST finish line), and exchanging a hardyround of hugs and high-fives, the President of the White Rock Marathon presented me with a finishers Medal along with a bottle of TheraFul and a BIG bag of Vitamin C lozenges.
Yes, everything in Texas is BIG, but nothing is BIGGER than the people’s hearts.
So long for now Y’all,