Neither Jeff nor I ran the mini-marathon this year, but that does not mean that we did not take part in the festivities. We went out to cheer on several of our friends that were running (Rich, Mark, Becky, Austin/Kristina/other Lehmans, Brad)– all the ones that we have heard did very well, particularly around mile marker 10-11 where we were. 🙂 We also saw many other people we knew from church, work, high school, med school etc which is always fun. Some highlights:
1) We saw the Kenyans. Normally we don’t get there soon enough for that, but we must have had pretty high expectations of our friend, Rich, who we expected to be the first to pass. I don’t know if this is the order they finished, but the first guy was pretty far ahead:
These guys are really fast and hard to catch on camera!
2) One of my favorite parts is cheering for the other 20,000 people that we don’t know (there are many more that run it, but we usually check out shortly after our friends pass us). We make signs for our friends and then general encouragement signs on the reverse so we just turn it over when the friend shows up. This year our signs read “You can do it!” and “Fight for it!” We got several comments on both signs. We got about nine “You can do it”s yelled over (in the Waterboy voice… I think that’s the right movie). I was really shooting for ten, but we had to go look for furniture, so we couldn’t hold out. The fight sign resonated with a lot of people and I got a lot of “fight is right!”s. Along with this general encouraging comes that awkward moment when you stop. We were there about an hour and a half and we weren’t going to stay to the last walker, so we had to pick some moment to leave. We decided to fade out the yelling first and then just slowly take down our signs and pack up our un-used chairs. The people after that don’t know that you’re not there, but there is still some element of guilt for not helping them get to the next mile.
3) This year they added a hot-air balloon race. When we first got there, there were about 20 balloons in the sky. By the time we got the camera out, there were many less visible, but it was still cool. I hope the runners (and not just the Kenyans) were able to see them as well. I think they took off from the track, but I’m not sure where they were going.
4) We’ve been on an every-other-year basis for a couple years now. Did this provide enough inspiration to get us to run next year? We’ll see!