On Sunday, May 1, I ran the OKC Memorial Marathon. I’ve never participated in this race before but I won’t miss another one.
The first thing I notice about this race was the volunteers. Everyone was happy to be there - standing in the rain, spilling water on themselves, picking up trash, and thanking me for running in the race. Every runner was just as enthusiastic. It took me a while to realize why…
I can’t imagine how the events of April 19, 1995 have impacted the families of the victims. I know people who worked in the Murrah building but none were injured. I really didn’t have a personal connection to any of the victims.
On Sunday I was running alongside Keri - one of the girls from this year’s training group. This was her first marathon and she was wearing a “I’m running in memory of Steve W.” She told me that Steve was related to a friend of the family. Keri never had a chance to meet this man but seemed to know he was special based on his family. I thought it was quite honorable for her to run in someone else’s name. I continued to think about both of our motivation for a few miles.
Then out of nowhere a girl ran up behind Keri and asked “How do you know Steve?” After Keri told the story the girl said “Steve was my father.” Once again I was dumbfounded. I didn’t hear the full conversation but Keri described how her family convinced her to run this Marathon for Steve. It was then I decided that if she could run this race I can certainly finish no matter what the conditions.
I plan to add The OKC Memorial Marathon to my list of “regular runs”. I’ll go back each year in honor of the strong people I’ve met through running as well as Steve and his daughter. I’ll continue to run my other races for the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign. But I’ll run this one for a different reason.