Yesterday morning I ran 13.1 miles before most people had even begun to awaken and open their eyes to the new day…and during that 13.1 miles I experienced magic greater than any one man could create. This race marked my fourth time running the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco, and I must say that with each time, that magical feeling has increased.
I first ran this race in 2005…it was my first ever race and I completed the full 26.2 mile marathon in just over 5 hours. When people ask me about it, my first response is that it was one of the most difficult things I have put my body through, but it was also one of the most amazing events I’ve had the privilege to be a part of. The run benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and throughout the course there are people holding signs for loved ones who have lost their battles with cancer, and those who are currently in combat. Runners have pictures of the loved ones they’re running for, and the course is littered with signs encouraging each runner to “run one more mile for the cure”. I would bet that each and every runner has a story of how these diseases have affected their lives; for me it was for my grandpa, who died of lymphoma in 2001, and my boyfriend Matt, who survived leukemia as a 7-year old. Regardless of each person’s tale of sorrow or triumph, each of the runners who ran through the streets of San Francisco this morning were there to celebrate hope and life and change.
It always amazes me to see all of the different people who come out for this race…there was an old man using a sporty walker to keep pace with his elderly wife; a 7-year old boy running alongside his mother; brothers and boyfriends and husbands either running alongside their women, or cheering them on from the sides. Running with these 20,000 people made my heart swell with happiness and pride for the capacity of greatness that is within each of us. There is a magic in this togetherness…and although one person running a marathon may not be the reason for a cure, together these runners raised over 14 million to help the Leukemia and Lymphoma society find a cure.
I’m reading John Steinbeck’s “East of Eden” right now, and yesterday I came across a passage where one of his characters makes the observation that the world is filled with two types of people: those who are content to live in harmony within this world, and those who are anxious to change it. I had been thinking about that passage quite a bit, and it came to me this morning, as Kevan and I waited in Union Square amidst the crowd of 20,000 women (and a few good men) for the start of the race. The world is filled with these two types of people, yes, but they both reside within each of us. Each person at this race, regardless of their own walk of life, came out because they know that by coming together there is hope, change, and maybe even magic.
Just about to cross the finish line…13.1 miles in a little over 2 hours!
Kevan and I displaying the finisher’s t-shirt
My wonderful and supportive mom at the finish line
The runners in the family…Kevan, Dad and I
Even Rike Suave came out to cheer us on!
I ran 13.1 miles in 2 hrs 6 minutes 58 seconds and finished 1,906 overall (out of over 20,000 people!) This chart shows that I averaged a 9 minute 45 second mile pace.