Last Saturday was the Garmin Marathon in Kansas City. This event had been on the race calendar for months, and would go on as planned following the Boston Marathon attack.
But this year, it would have a few race crashers they had not been planning on.
I decided to run the half marathon the day before the race. Normally, I would never try to run back to back races of these distances that close together, but this race I HAD to run.
I ran 7 miles of the race next to a man that also ran Boston. He was running for the same reason I was – to try to feel normal again by doing what we love. Every step of the race I felt a little more healed and a little more like myself. Running is my therapy, and it was certainly therapy on Saturday.
Another reason why I wanted to be at the Garmin Marathon on Saturday was to support 4 of our KC runners that did not get to finish Boston on Monday. These runners deserved that finish and earned that finish, and we were going to make sure they were supported while crossing that finish line.
A big group of people met .7 miles out, since our area runners were stopped right at mile 25.5. When they began running their final seven tenths of a mile, the rest of the Boston runners followed them with cheers and support. We were all together again, and that was one of the best parts of Saturday.
As our runners approached the finish, the crown roared and more Boston Marathon runners joined us. There were runners there from the 2013 race, as well as many past Boston races. Everyone was united as one group that day, it was awesome.
Coach Eladio Valdez with Runner’s Edge in Kansas City did an amazing job of getting the word out, and putting this finish line event together. Thanks to Coach Eladio, so many spectators were there to cheer and support the group. While their finish would not be the same as a Boston finish, it would still be filled with enthusiasm, joy, love and support.
As they finished, Coach Eladio covered the runners in 2013 Boston Marathon heat blankets, and put a Boston Marathon medal around their necks. Medals that before Saturday, they had not received for their huge accomplishment. Eladio also gave each runner a bag of Hawaiian rolls, which was hilarious! (I remember how excited I was to get these rolls after I finished!)
Saturday reminded me once again that as tragic as the week was, there was so much good that came out of it. The Kansas City running community is closer now than we have ever been. And I have so many new friends today that were not in my life two week sago. We all share a bond, and will support each other through thick and thin.
Photo credits go to Greg Hall, and Amber Rossman.
Read more about the KC women who finished here (YOU NEED TO READ THIS!): http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/45042310/
Watch the action here: http://fox4kc.com/2013/04/20/emotional-finish-highlights-olathes-garmin-marathon/