The journey to OKC to run the 9th running of the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon was an easy one for a lot of runners. Many left early Friday, carpooled, ate lunch together, blew some time at the expo, met for dinner, walked around and looked at the wall and the 168 chairs. All good stuff.
For the ones who spent Saturday in Lawrence, Kansas, the journey between states was like a bad dream. Severe thunderstorms swept the plains of Kansas, tossing tornadoes left and right. At the Freestate Trail Run, the race was called off after all of the marathoners were through, but before some of the 40 milers and 100 K-ers had finished their race. When the RunnersWorld contingent of Kathy, Roman, Jason, Lisa, Ken, and Dana began their trek southward to the Sooner state, heavy rains set in complete with a non-stop lightning show. The three car caravan was soon divided, with the first of the group reaching OKC around 2:30 am. Ken and Dana had to stop in Wichita to wait out high winds and pelting rain for fear of hydro-planing or falling asleep at the wheel. Still, we all made it with T Z showing up at the start just minutes before the gun. Typical Zombie style.
Lisa and Jason ran the trail marathon in Lawrence and were going for their 2nd marathon in 2 days, which would give them 4 stars in their Marathon Maniac status. Roman also ran the 26.2 at FreeState in what was his toughest race ever. His shoes will never look the same!
T Z ran 37 miles of a 40 miler that was cut short due to a nearby tornado!
Soon enough, after 168 seconds of silence which is a very sincere and touching gesture, the singing of the national anthem, the start of the wheelchair race, and a lot of anticipation, the starting gun was fired. Special thanks to my friends on Face Book for some of these photos. My camera had disappeared, and I was carrying a disposable which took lousy pics before the sun came up. Lisa and I were hanging out for this race. I had promised to get her to the finish line after her hard conquest the day before. Secretly though, her running with me assured that "I" would be able to finish.
The crowd at the beginning was huge, energy-charged, and everything that a marathon should be. Lisa and I ran the first mile a little fast, but 90% of the runners did the same I am sure. After a few miles, the crowd began to thin out some. It was then that our partners-in-crime caught up with us. Jason and Kathy, joined by Joye caught us and told us they were taking it easy and walking the hills. Sounded good to us....a good plan. They seemingly picked up the pace and ran steadily up a 1/2 mile hill and we did not see them again until the finish line. :-(
Lisa stopped to pose for a pic with this sexy guy.
And Paris stopped to pose for a pic with this sexy guy.
Despite fierce headwinds in the final 12 miles of the race, we made it to the finish line. Everyone had tails to tell. PRs were hard to find, but there were a few. Deon shaved a few minutes off of his best time.
Susan bettered her half time by more than 20 minutes, and her brother Russell also PRd. I am sure there are others, but considering the harsh conditions, any kind of a finish was quite the accomplishment.
Terrie took the early start at 4:30, ran for more than 2 hours before the sun came up, ran without aid stations, and got her first blister at mile 9. She made several stops at the medical tents to have them dressed. But she kept at it and got her first of what I am sure will be many marathon finishes. Way to go!
A RunnersWorld watch party awaits their remaining runners.
Bobby finishes marathon number 4, while Tom notches his first finish. Tom also notched up a toe, which had the old blister/loose toenail combo, with blood through the shoe as an added bonus!
Speaking of blisters....Roman has a doozie. Not bad for 26.2 miles in the mud, and a trip down Classen Blvd.
Nice ouchies, Terrie!
After the run, after the post race feed at Chileno's, after the comparing of battered feet, we began to talk about what was next....
Why do we do this....it's all about the shirt.