On Sunday I ran in the OKC Memorial Marathon, along with 4 other girls who made up our relay team. As the day approached I was nervous about my preparedness, but excited to run and be a part of this special event. Races are fun, because there is always lots of excitement and adrenaline that you don't have on a typical daily run. But with the Memorial Marathon, there is an added element of emotions. Excitement, inspiration, and a touching respect fill the air. I have participated in this event in the past both as a runner and as a spectator. Both ways have left me feeling encouraged as an Oklahoman and as a human.
I'm sure you all know the story of April 19, 1995. Where were you? I was in the chapel at St. John's and it felt like something huge fell on top of the building: a loud "boom" and a shaking occurred. 168 men, women and children were killed in the bombing. A horrific event.
But Oklahomans know how to rally. To pick up the pieces and move forward. And to always remember those lost.
When I was getting myself mentally prepared for the run on Saturday night, I began looking through the pamphlets and such that I received at the expo earlier that day. I reviewed the course, where I'd be running. I looked at logistical type information: where to go for what, etc. And I read about the race. One writer put that "the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon is quickly becoming known as a 'Citizens' Race,' combining volunteerism, teamwork and unparalleled emotion - and not just for elite runners, but for walkers, children and everyone who wants to be a part of this day" (Taken from the 12th Annual Oklahoma City Marathon Official Event Guide, Course Description). A Citizens' Race. I love that. Being part of a team is very important to me, whether it be an athletic team, a member in a job department, as part of a friend or family relationship, or as a citizen. I've said it before on here, but I like the idea of fellowship. I'll often make a joke about "fellowshipping" (is that even a word??), but I really think we're called to spend quality time together, to be team players in the different communities we're a part of, and I take that role seriously.
Sooo, back to a Citizens' Race. Don't you just love that? My dad told me once that he had read about what some people think about while they run to distract themselves from the aches, pains, struggles. One suggestion was that you dedicate each mile to thinking about someone you love. I've never done that, but I think it's such a nice idea. Maybe I will one day. But as I ran on Sunday, I thought a lot about being a part of this Citizens' Race. I was pushed and motivated by all the people around me: the runners, the volunteers, the random people passing by who would stop to cheer, my teammates, and friends and family who moved with me in spirit. We were doing something together that was both joyful and tough. We were showing that while we will never forget the pain and suffering that occurred, we can come together, move forward and grow.
Good job, Oklahoma. A Citizens' Race indeed. Thankful to be a part of it. Thankful for my teammates (Kristin, Kaylea, Julie, Melissa, and Carrie- Way to go, girls!), my running partner and coach (dad), all my friends and family, and my fellow citizens.
Are you all singing in your heads too?
"O. K. L. A. H. O. M. Aaaaaaa??"
No? Just me? Alright...