This being the inaugural Marathon, the organizers wanted people to literally run wherever possible. Now that I have your attention, let me explain….
On our way to the Qwest Event Center, where the expo for registration was being held,our car stopped due to a traffic jam,very close to Qwest Field. If I were Spiderman, I could have just jumped from the ramp …it was that close. After one hour, staring at the car in the front, stomachs growling,late for lunch at a friend’s house, Suresh was getting frustrated.Our man, the marathoner, decided it was fruitless to wait in the car, handed the wheel over to me , and jogged to the Expo, picked up his bib and ran back to the car, with just one cliff bar in his hand to show that he attended the Expo. Well, we did save the parking fee of 5$. Miles Ran to get registered: 1
After having learnt our lesson the previous day, we decided to leave early and started from the house, with the sun shining bright. Definitely not something that we hoped for, but what is life without hope? So, hoping that the day can end up being cloudy, we left.
We were close to the exit on the freeway, when faced the jam again….Suresh wanted to run with the pacers group and so, our man got down and started running towards the starting point. We could see him running down the ramp pretty fast, atleast to my eyes it was fast. Miles Ran , just to get to the starting point : 2
I came home and checked the update for the live results , which said he crossed the starting point at 7:16 , which was 16 minutes later than intended. It confirmed that he missed the Pacers and was on his own.
25000 runners trying to start around the same time is not a joke.
On our way to meet Suresh , we passed the runners crossing the I-90 bridge around the 10th mile, shouting with enthusiasm from the car, while searching for Suresh. Lo and Behold !! there he was , running strong . Just to spot him in that crowd gave me a super high and both me and my cousin were elated .
We reached the 16th mile , found a nice spot on a bridge and started cheering. When the 3:45 pacers group passed, and still no sign of Suresh, I got worried though I knew he missed the 3:30 group and started 16 minutes late. There I was, standing with a frown on my face,waiting eagerly to see Suresh, praying to God, when Ramesh( my cousin’s hubby) pointed at Suresh and our man passed us pumping his fist in the air…Yes, he does like to pose for photos even in the midst of a grueling marathon .
We were still waiting at the same bridge, to greet Suresh at the 22nd mile. This was the best part, as the course was a loop at this point and so, we could get to cheer the runners at two points , without having to drive. I could see that quite a few runners were fatigued and were walking with cramps etc and the sun was not helping either. By now, I knew that Suresh had decided to run at a slower pace and so was not worried. My heart beat fast and all of us breathed a sigh of relief on seeing Suresh still strong with the fists still pumping..I love this guy’s energy.
We scrambled back to the car and drove to the finishing point .Mala and I got down to walk over to the finish line , squeezing between people to get to the barrier and watched Suresh sprinting to the final, finishing with a time of 3:53:37…Did I say how much I like this guy’s perseverance. I know, a bit mushy, huh?
Miles Ran : 26.6 ( 0.4 just to get through the crowd of runners at the beginning ).
Though Suresh was disappointed that he slowed down compared to his usual pace because of the sun , a hilly course and the mental block of running extra 2 miles to get to the start, missing the pacers etc….I was very happy that he was not injured and that I got to cheer him at intervals. I try in almost every marathon to meet him at some designated point and invariably miss him. This was the first Marathon where I did, thanks to Mala and Ramesh.
Suresh, with your determination and perseverance,for you to beat your PR of 3:33 and qualify for Boston will be a cake walk…I know what you are thinking.. “Easier said than done” and that too from a non runner. All I can say is “I AM MIGHTY PROUD OF YOU”.