Monday, October 10, 2011


Two of the kids ran the half-marathon in Long Beach this weekend, 13.1 miles, or 20k, "because I am only HALF Crazy" as it says on her headband. Our daughter flew in from Colorado, her brother joined her in the challenge. What motivates someone to run a marathon? There were 30,000 participants: marathoners, half, 5k, walkers and a bicycle route. We were advised to get there early and even though we left an hour before we'd planned, this is what we met.
Sitting on the freeway. It took one hour to go four miles, all the cars funneling into one lane to get to the downtown area, the parking, and the race events.

I went to cheer them on and enjoy watching the crowds. Could have been a fun study just in the t-shirts the runners wore; "If found lying on road, drag across the finish line."
The strangest runners I saw? A man running, balancing a watermelon on his head!? Didn't get a photo. Was too busy trying to figure out if he had it glued on to his hat or if he was actually balancing it, his neck twisted at an angle to hold it there.
Second prize goes to a man running backwards - yes, backwards- wearing skin tight leopard print leotards. No photo of him either...
A local children's hospital drew and painted the artwork copied onto each mile marker. Their full-size canvas painted posters were hung along the route, adding color and creativity to the already busy scene.
Participants ranged all ages, kids to octogenarians. Two much older gentlemen ran alongside each other, chatting, teasing, challenging the other, laughing, like running a marathon was an everyday ho-hum event.
Toe Tags
Coming around the last corner, the last stretch to the finish line. Marathoners and Half runners finished at the same point. The route went around the marina, along the beach path, and looped back through town to this almost-done point, 13.1 miles, 26.2 miles for the full marathon. They wore a tag on their shoes that contained a chip which recorded their personal start and finish times as they crossed the line.
Coming to the end of the run, the first marathon runners coming in at the same time, just under three hours.
She's almost there!
The crowds connecting with their completed runners, congratulating and cheering for them.
Participation medals, a job well done.

What motivates the wide variety of individuals? The young, the old, the wheelchair athletes, the groups supporting various causes; they would each have their own story, their own reasons. Each of them has something in common: finding the strength to push themselves, to dig deeper and bring it on, to know that each step, each pace brings them a little closer to the finish line and a deep sense of accomplishment. They did it!

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