They came together today
Some from nearby, others from as far as Kenya
For some this is but one of dozens
For others this is the first time
For many this will be the last time
What will it be for you?
They come for their own reasons
Many different, many the same
They take in the cold morning air, and watch the river flowing gently past
Eyes are wide, senses heightened
Silently calling out, each to the others
A shared spirit
Smiles and jokes calm them
Today they face something they’ve never seen
Was the preparation enough?
No more time to question
Don’t think of the distance
Steel the will
No one came to fail
In the beginning it’s a simple thing
13 miles of stories and friendship
at 16 miles the change begins
More time within themselves
The challenge is coming, can you feel it?
At 19 the sense of where they are permeates them
Getting harder, too far to turn away – what do you have for me?
After 20 miles the test begins
Who are you really? What brought you here today? Is it reason enough?
What takes you past?
At 22 miles you feel the pain. You look at your legs. What’s wrong?
At 23 miles the legs begin to numb. Heavy…
How much longer to 24?
You came to finish. Forget the time. Forget the distance.
It’s only a step. Another step. Time will pass. Patience
At 24 you hear from the roadside – only 2 more miles….
¼ of a mile down the road you hear again – only 2 more miles ……they lied…
Only 2 miles – such a simple thing.
But the legs don’t agree. The burning is hotter. Seducing you, walk – you have time
We didn’t come to walk today…
At 25 miles the deadening begins. The legs are done now. At 25 they’re through.
Now they are the weights you carry that slow you. You drag them with you through the streets.
And you reach 26
Only .2 miles left. Only .2 miles. So little… funny…
One step then another
One more step
Look for the finish
Look for the people
You see them
You’d like to speed ahead…..too late for that
And you focus on your face and hands
See the photographer? Smile….
He knows what you really feel. He’s been here many times before. He’s watched this initiation.
Yes, smile for the camera.. “I see you”
Pass the line
Light headed trying to stay upright they put a blanket over you
You throw it to the ground
You want to sit but the legs can’t bend so you stand
Make it to the ground before you fall
Nausea – contain it
Too far for this, focus elsewhere, there will be no sickness now
Back to your feet
The brain isn’t processing yet. It will be soon. Get to the car. How? It’s ¼ of a mile away.
Just get there.
Then you begin to understand.
I ran 26.2 miles today. I questioned that I could. But I did. And you feel a sense of pride.
It wasn’t quick – preparation took months.
It wasn’t easy.
But you did.
And you did it alone.
And so it’s done.
(I’m sure it’s different at 25 🙂 – but this is 60)