Attended my first Marathon as a spectator yesterday. The day started early with a chillingly dangerous ride through a thunderstorm to my cousins’ house in Wawaka, Indiana. After hydroplaning about half a dozen times Ben and I arrived safely. We hoped into the Jeep, Emily taking the lead for the remainder of our journey to South Bend.
This was to be Ben’s first marathon; having completed a half marathon on May 11th. At 5:30 am this crazy man was pumped and ready to go. “I am so stupid!!” were his parting words to us at the starting line. Crazy stupid maybe. Determined to run 26.2 miles; having only run 14 previously.
Emily and I found a coffee shop where we camped out for the next couple of hours watching the various waves of runners take off. My little sunshine fell asleep. Isn’t she cute? 😉
A couple hours later we took off walking towards the finish line at ND Stadium. By this time many of the marathon runners had finished. We followed the course behind the Five K walkers passing several of the remaining marathon and half marathon runners. Volunteers lined the course holding signs, yelling encouragement and offering water. Several residents were setting outside their homes cheering on participants.
One man even set up outside his car in a kilt playing the bagpipes whenever a runner ran past. Epic. A young couple set outside with their young daughter holding signs of support and cheering. Darling to say the least. My personal favorite was the elderly lady setting at the end of her lane with a garden hose ready to spray down anyone who dared venture near. “You are my super hero!!” one runner exclaimed. And for the day, I am sure this lady was.
Race Culture is great. No matter who you are or how fast you can run you have the support of strangers. Races bring out the good left in humanity. I even caught one man wearing an orange tutu with a T-Shirt that said “I run for those who can’t.” He was running the marathon in support of M.S. Who does that? Runs 26.2 miles to raise awareness. People who care.
Eventually, Emily and I made it to the stadium. Only volunteers and runners were allowed on the green. So we found a front row seat across from the finish line and waited for Ben. The anticipation was high. At this point, Ben was in his fourth hour of running. I was eager to see him cross the finish line in one piece.
Nearly five hours later he did =D I couldn’t be more proud of my best friend. The first thing he did was apologize for “taking so long.” Seriously dude. You just ran a marathon! I don’t care how long it took you, just as long as, you cross that damn finish line.
Just look at that face. That’s the face of a worn out winner. I am so proud of you Ben. You always accomplish what you set out to do. We all need a little bit of your kind of crazy. Just wait until next year when we both knock out Sunburst 2014!
For my readers interested in the Sunburst races you can check out their race page here or like their Facebook page. There are race options available for all levels. Start training now to be ready for next years race 🙂