Yesterday, I was privileged to be in Houston to watch the Olympic Trials for the Marathon. Wow. What a morning.
I had never really been to a running event like this before. It was amazing.
I was pulling for Ryan Hall, Josh Cox and Deena Kastor, the three runners whose names I was most familiar with. I learned about some of the other runners while there. This marathon stuff is still kind of new to me.
One of the things I like the best about was simply witnessing running up close. We were at times only a couple of feet from the runners while they were on the course. It was great to be able to watch their form and see the expressions on their faces and to cheer them on.
It was a blast to cheer for them and wave American flags and be proud of them as they prepare to represent our country in this awesome event.
I took away a few other observations as I reflected on the experience.
(1) The marathon is a long distance. It’s an event to run 26.2 miles, no matter who you are.
(2) Give it all and never give up. It was apparent by only a few miles into the race that the majority of the field was hopelessly behind. As the gap widened early in the race, I thought about how it feels to know so quickly that you have no chance. These runners continued the race as if none of that mattered. They kept giving and going with nothing to gain except a finish. Well, that and a really good marathon time. Just not a good enough time. This really moved me and inspired me.
(3) Women run smart. It was really cool to see the women start out a little slower and gain speed with strategy. It’s also fun to watch the men out of the gate, but not as fun to watch them try to maintain that insane pace. It’s all good, though.
(4) I have something in common with these people. There is no comparison between runners like me and runners like these folks, of course. But it was really cool to realize that the event I was was watching is an event I have participated in. That at least establishes a strong connection to it. It made me want to run more. To train harder. To become a better runner. It was awesome to see these champions show us how it is done.
(5) I love the running community. I have found the running community to be mostly accepting and encouraging. Yesterday felt like we were all on a big team – Team USA. As I have participated in marathon running, I have found the participants to be very encouraging. People pull for each other and celebrate achievements together. I love it.
I am more eager than ever to watch the Olympics this year and cheer on these and other amazing athletes. I’m so glad I was able to make this trip and witness such greatness. That’s my daughter Clayre who talked me into signing up for a marathon and who invited me along on this trip.