A Short Post About a Long Run

I completed my second marathon yesterday. Milwaukee Lakefront again. I had been looking forward to yesterday since I finished the same race a year ago.

There’s something about marathons, folks…

Much can be said about yesterday’s experience. And that’s really what a marathon is–an experience. An experience in dedication, determination, humility, and humanity. At some point I may sit down to write more, but for now I’ll simply share this…

I was a half mile from the finish line and I was walking when a guy ran up on my right. “You wanna finish this?” he said. He said it like a badass. “Yeah,” I replied, trying to match his badassness. I picked my pace back up to a run.

We chatted the last few minutes of the race. I only learned a little about him. It was his fourth marathon; he had just committed to it a month ago after training another runner; he had paced that guy for a sub-4 through the first 18 miles. Now, here he was running alongside me as we ran in for a 4:27 or so.

His name was Robert. I learned that as the crowds got thicker closer to the finish line and people, more strangers, cheered us on by name, reading them as printed on our bibs.

I saw my immediate family cheering loudly and I smiled and waved. Then I saw my extended family, also cheering loudly. I smiled and waved.

“You’re popular,” Robert the Stranger said.

“Naw. Just lucky,” I only thought as we neared the finish line.

Then I saw the back of a familiar shirt in front of me. The familiar shirt of another stranger. Wearing it was a guy who ran by me while I was walking back at mile 19. A guy who took the opportunity to encourage me, a complete stranger, as he passed. “Doing good,” he said. And I believed him. And I ran.

We crossed the finish line. I thanked Robert for helping push me to the end. And then I thanked the stranger with the now-familiar shirt for his help, too.

That last stretch. Less than a mile. That’s the marathon experience in a nutshell.

Not sure why I bothered to run the other 25.7.


1 thought on “A Short Post About a Long Run

  1. Pingback: What People Get Wrong About the Marathon Analogy | Recalculating: a life

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