They way you having both quantity and quality can be hard. Three marathons in three weeks plainly meant my body would not be in the position it needed to be to run my best. I’m not one to ever think I’m “entitled” to be under 4 hours – it’s only happened twice. Still, having run the Clarence DeMar Marathon on September 24, then booking one weekend off but then three weekends of marathons in a row, plainly meant I would not be breaking four hours again this year. I didn’t, but that’s ok.
I had run all three of these marathons before – Steamtown in Scranton PA (home of the show “The Office” as well as where former VP Joe Biden was born); the Hambletonian Marathon – my hometown and first marathon three years ago, and Marine Corps. Thankfully, the last one, Marine Corps, would be a “walk run” with my wife. I take personal pride in running marathons, but my wife enjoys a more casual pace – and I enjoy her company, so that’s fine. We did the Disney marathon at the start of the year, and now were winding down the year with the Marine Corps marathon in Washington.
Marine Corps would be my 30th marathon. It was particularly touching though not for our slow time or being the third in three weeks, but because of who it honors. As you reach mile 12, you see pictures of soldiers on both sides of the running path. They are fallen soldiers. They are part of the Wear Blue – Run to Remember program. That program was founded by “Ironman” Lisa Hallett. Ms. Hallett’s husband was killed in action in Afghanistan. She was a runner and built the Wear Blue initiative to help runners overcome grief and remember those soldiers to made the ultimate sacrifice. She is also, as noted, an “Ironman” – having competed in Kona.
As we made it through mile 12, my wife stopped – hard. She saw a familiar picture. A Marine, who was a former student of hers was one of the soldiers pictured. We had known of course he was killed in action seven years ago. Every face of the dozens (hundreds probably) of pictures was unique. They all had their own story. To see though the face of the young student my wife had taught – with a giant smile on his face, certainly brings our wars home. The young man, and I’m not saying his name on purpose as I don’t think I can give it the respect for his story that he deserves, was pictures, as I said, with a giant smile on his face – having fun. My wife was as happy about that as you can be under the circumstance. She remember him as such a happy kid. Families have to choose our images when we die, and often times they are serious portraits in these tragic situations. Here, we saw a picture of a local “kid” with a huge smile on his face, just as he had lived life.
We did finish the race of course. The pain you sometimes feel in races though when you see the hundreds of pictures of the fallen on the side of mile 12 at Marine Corps can sure put things in perspective.