Thursday, May 1, 2014

Running In OKC - The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon

This past weekend was an exciting one in Oklahoma City. Between the Arts Festival, the H&8th Night Market, the Norman Music Festival, and the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, there was no shortage of fun, exciting things to do in the community all weekend. Here at Carless HQ, we were particularly thrilled about the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. Not only are we running enthusiasts, but we also live next door to the Memorial, and therefore next door to the festivities, making it super convenient for us to spectate on what was sure to be an unforgettable race.

Starting to get lined up and ready to run.
We went to sleep early on Saturday night so as to be able to wake up early enough to catch the race start just after 6:00am. I woke up a little earlier than John and made my way downstairs to see how things were shaping up. I was stunned to see hundreds and hundreds of people outside of our apartment building, mostly people in running clothes with numbers pinned on, stretching and otherwise preparing to race. The air was practically buzzing with anticipation and I could barely stand still, I was getting so caught up in it.

Unfortunately, the weather was not cooperating. An intermittent light drizzle and occasional lightning in the distance threatened to ruin everything, but the weather experts insisted it would pass, so the start was pushed to 7:00, then 8:00. John had woken up and joined me by this point, and we came back downstairs to watch the runners leave once the organizers received the go-ahead to start around 8:15.

And they're off!
I am still new to running, so I had never been to a race of this magnitude. 26,000 people were running in either the 5K, the half marathon, the marathon, or the marathon relay, and the enormous crowd of runners stretched back several blocks down Harvey. As the first wave of runners dashed off at the gun, I was overwhelmed with emotion to see so many people who had worked so hard to be here. As a new runner, I know what it's like to be in that place after so much training, so the whole scene really hit home.
John and I were almost immediately hit with another feeling familiar to runners at races in which they are not participating: "the itch." We wanted to be a part of this! I have only run 5Ks so far, and John has run one half marathon but not in several years, but as soon as we saw the runners leave out, we knew we wanted to start training for a half marathon. This feeling only grew stronger as we moved up to Broadway to watch the finishers come in. Standing at the sidelines with our Coffee Slingers coffee in hand, we saw thousands of runners cross the finish line, including the male and female winners of the half and full marathons, while listening to the awesome emcee encourage the finishers while keeping the crowd pumped up. (By the way, does anyone know who the finish line emcee was? He was incredible!)

Camille Herron coming in strong to win the women's marathon.

Jason Cook crossing the finish line to win the men's marathon.
We went home afterward and immediately started looking up races taking place in the next few months. My original plan had been to train to be able to run a half marathon by next year's Memorial race, but after John found a half marathon scheduled for mid-October and a 25-week half marathon training plan, I decided to just go for it. Watch for the Carless Couple running around town in upcoming months because we are now officially in training - and we were inspired by the runners of the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon!

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