Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Marathon Stories

I had to laugh at this picture from this weekend's race.  I think Chris snapped the picture as I was trying to lift my arms in a victory pose.  Instead, it looks like I'm about to take flight!

A sweet friend stood amid the cold and rain and watched me cross the finish line on Saturday.  We found each other among the crowd and I extended my appreciation on her braving the weather to watch my finish.

She smiled and said, "I love watching the finish line and seeing all the stories."

I thought about the truth in her statement.

Just months earlier, I flipped on the taping of the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii.  I was mesmerized by the athletes.  They seemed to defy all preconceived notions of what the human body is actually capable of doing.  I watched them swim, ride, and run for hours while baking under the Hawaiian heat.  Incredible!

Although watching the top athletes was riveting, I was even more drawn to the stories of the "common folk" competing in the race.  The 81-year-old doctor stumbling through the dark to cross the finish line.  The cancer patient.  The amputee.  The grandmother.  

They all had stories.  Wonderful, amazing, success stories.

And there were stories at the race on Saturday too.

On Saturday, we didn't have the benefit of knowing the backstory on each individual.  We relied on the images and imagined the stories.  Some stories were clear.  Friends helping friends.  Wives pushing forward husbands.  

Other stories came tumbling out later.  

A running friend posted on Facebook her story from Saturday.  She hit the wall around mile ten and started to walk.  According to her post, an older gentleman approached her and said, "I was diagnosed with Leukemia this week and I have five years.  I have a lot of living to do so let's get going."  And so they finished the race.

What a wonderful story.  I wished I had seen it unfold across the finish line.

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