I’d like to personally thank each and every runner for your bravery today. The weather was nothing short of intense, with driving rain and torrential downpours. Kansas is know for its wind, and today was a monumental display of Mother Nature in all her glory.
With the long drive last night and just a few hours of restless sleep, I was hoping today would be an easy one. Such was not to be the case.
The rain began just before the start, and when we entered McConnell Air Force Base at mile eleven the showers had begun to intensify. We were met at the gate by twenty military officers and personnel who ran the eight mile section through the base with us. And that’s when things got really interesting. By mile 14, the rain was coming down sideways, stinging your face and body as it hit. The wind was whipping across the open expanse, making forward progress nearly impossible in some stretches, and blowing you off course in others. Trying to open your eyes to see where you were going was a painful experience, so we ran with our heads down, tracking off the line in the road to keep your bearings.
The group showed a grit and resolve that goes beyond words. During the peak of the torrent, we would just exchange periodic glances as a way of reaffirming our commitment to keep foraging onward. No words were necessary. When the rain finally did let up at mile 21, running the last five miles together seemed more like a victory march than a run, as though we had prevailed through the worst conditions imaginable and emerged intact and still moving forward.
Three first-time marathoners crossed the finish line. How they were able to accomplish this remarkabletriumph in conditions that tested even the most experienced runners is astonishing. They say the human body can only go so far, well today the human spirit showed us all that nothing is impossible.
Thank you to the great athletes and people of Kansas. Heading down the highway toward the next marathon, your spirit lives on in my heart.
To view photo’s, go to: http://www.runnersworld.com/e50/slideshow/