R2R...Run 2 Remember...A Marathon Tale



 Green laces for raising $ for the Memorial
Two weeks ago Christie came in on a Thursday afternoon in preparation for the Oklahoma City Marathon a Run 2 Remember for the Oklahoma City Memorial, to be run early Sunday morning.  That Thursday evening we went up to the Cox Convention Center to pick up her information packet and Bib Number 14479. It was a zoo of people picking up their packets as well, plus people attending the Oklahoma City Barons Hockey game all in the same location. She wanted 2 days of rest before doing a half Marathon, 13.1 miles to be exact. Thursday night she went for a short 2 mile run then came back and started her rest period.

Friday was spent on Health Clinics and appointments and having lunch with me and watching old movies.

We spent our time Saturday getting our hair cut and colored. She had 2 inches trimmed off the bottom of hers, but me...that was a different matter. I went from short to very short and became, as my husband would say, a carrot top. I love you too honey.

Saturday night Christie drove up to the city to have a look around and scout out parking spots. She spent some time alone at the
The Survivor Tree

Survivor Tree in quiet reflection. The Survivor Tree is an American Elm that withstood the full force of the blast from the bomb. Tree experts from all over the USA came here to help it survive and survive it did. For us it is a living symbol of resilience.

We were informed that we would have to go to bed early Saturday evening, 9:30p.m. Ugh! we had to be up by 4:30a.m., to be at the race line by 6:00a.m.  Normally I don't go to bed until 11p.m. or so, so going to bed at 9:30p.m. was impossible for me. I tossed, turned, counted sheep, had visions of RV's dancing through my head and still woke up at 2:30a.m. to which I tried to go back to sleep but to no avail. I hate it when that happens. On went the TV and I got caught up on some of my shows. Me thinks I record too much TV.

4:30a.m. came and up we got and quickly pulled everything together. I made a quick breakfast of Turkey bacon by Godshalls found at Sam’s Club, great bacon by the way, scrambled eggs with cheese and strong coffee,wolfed it down and was out the door.

We got up to the city and found a parking spot less than a half block from the Start of the course. You could feel the excitement in the air. Helicopters were flying overhead with their spotlights on, lots of people on the sidewalk making their way to the runners holding pen. We found a spot along the raceway parked our stuff and gave Christie a hug and kiss and wished her good luck on her run. She quickly made her way to the holding pen to get her spot. 20 minutes to go until the start.

Getting ready
With anticipation building, the air was charged with tension and the festive excitement of a major NFL or NBA championship game. Would we be able to see her as she passed by? She had purchased a bright, bright yellow runners shirt plus Red Soxs with black running pants. But that description fit a lot of people there. Lots of people were wearing Red Soxs in honor of the Boston Marathon runners. Some of the runners of that race were in Oklahoma City to complete their races or to run again. We felt honored to have them here.

Just minutes before the gun was to be fired, 168 seconds of silence, one for each victim, was observed to remember those who were killed and three seconds was added on to remember those who perished in Boston. Next the Star

OKC Police Cadets running in their red socks!
Spangled Banner was sung, A drum corps line began

A drum corp keeping the beat up for the runners
pounding out a rhythm to get the runners charged up that continued the whole time runners were crossing the Starting Line. Two minutes before the start of the race, the handicapped wheel chairs and handicapped bikes were off and going. It was a struggle for some who were in wheel chairs as they had to negotiate a hill first off, but they made it. 5...4...3...2...1 BANG! It began! Thousands upon thousands of runners started the race.

The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon R2R, ranks 11th in the world for Marathons. Each year it grows larger. It helps to raise funds for the Oklahoma City Memorial and Museum and helps the many visitors and participants see first-hand what happened in Oklahoma City.
A Mallard unfazed by visitors to the Memorial

After the throng of runners were well on their way and the crowd had thinned, we walked through the grounds of the Memorial. Even with the multiude of people there, there was a presence of peace and tranquility. A lone male

Mr. Mallard
Mallard duck was standing in the reflecting pool, the water perfectly still, the reflection of the Mallard against the 9:03 wall, beautiful. No sound, just people lost in their thoughts of what was, what could have been and what would come of this glorious sunny Sunday morning.

Bomb sniffing police dogs

Security was tight. If you had a backpack you were subject to search. We made sure the bag we were carrying was of clear plastic and you could see everything in it at a glance as the city had enforced a clear bag rule for the day. While sitting on a park bench outside the Memorial, waiting for Dave to finish taking some pictures of the Memorial, a police officer approached me. I of course did have a question to ask him as I was not sure of the location of the Finish Line. Three times he asked me if I was okay to which I replied "Yes, I'm fine, just waiting for my hubby" He smiled and proceeded on walking his beat. He was the tallest police officer I had ever seen, at least 6'10".  I’m glad he was observant.
Sun rising on the Memorial reflecting pool

Slowly we made our way to the Finish line of the race and found spectator bleachers to sit in. We cheered the 5K walkers who were finishing their walk when we got there…so many to cheer on. Then slowly one by one the half marathoners started coming by, finishing their race. More and more were coming. Looking at the clock we still had a good hour before Christie said what she thought would be her time, she did not miss it by much. We cheered, yelled out encouragement, whistled, clapped, winced when the runners would stumble or throw-up, but the roar of the crowd helped them get up and finish the race. A huge TV screen was across from us along with a cameraman shooting the runners as they were coming into sight of the reviewing stands. When we would see the runners they were still 20 seconds away before we actually saw them. One of the runners was in distress and after he passed our stand he collapsed just feet from the finish line. He got up with the help of several volunteers and was helped off the course. I found out later he had to have CPR performed on him before being taken to the hospital. At this time he is home and recovering.  For that we are thankful.  
A little distraction, ie Mom and Dad shouting her name!
At the 2:35:10 mark we saw Christie. She looked good, had good form and didn't seem like she was struggling at all. Before race day the farthest she had run was 9 miles. We yelled and shouted out her name giving her encouragement. She heard us and smiled! She crossed at 2:35:35 but her

On track to hit her official time of 2:20:21
actual run time was 2:20:21, her overall place was 4562 out of 9015 runners running the half marathon. Her age division place was 392 out of 925 runners. Her gender place was 2024 out of 5522 runners. She was running a 10:34 mile. The average running time was 2:29:13, so she was a bit better than average. I know I couldn't do it. We are so proud of her. She raised $100.00 dollars for the Memorial. She had hoped to raise $150.00.

Christie in front of the Survivor Tree with her medal
This year the young adults who were babies that survived the bombing, were handing out the medals at the end of the race. Most are in college now.

Christie with her medal

If you have not visited the Memorial I highly suggest that you do. When you do, you will see these words on the walls before you enter the site.
We come here to remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever. May all who leave here know the impact of violence. May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope and serenity.®
East side of the Memorial

Each of us left the race knowing that we were more humbled in having been there, cheering on those runners to victory and remembering all of those who were taken too early.
God Bless...and May He grant you peace. Amen


No comments:

Post a Comment

We would love to hear from you, so please write a line or two when you visit.