After homecoming I spent Saturday night at Ben and Gumi’s house. I was planning to drive home the next day, but not until I cheered Gumi on as she ran her 4th half marathon. It was gorgeous and the runners ran around the park that was down the street from Gumi’s house. So Sunday morning I woke up and walked down to watch the runners.
I was there for about a hour before I saw Gumi, but I was enjoying watching the runners and taking pictures. When I expected Gumi to run by it was a populated running time, so I was worried I wouldn’t see her, but luckily we were both looking for each other and she shouted out to me. Of course by then I wanted to cheer her on and I was too caught off guard to take a picture!
I don’t know what it is about marathons, but they make me emotional. As I’m walking around and watching the participants, there were times that I thought “I can’t cheer because if I do I’m going to start crying!” I think completing any kind of race is a huge accomplishment. People train long and hard to participate and they make sacrifices along the way to do so. It’s such a joyful experience to finish and say “I just did that!” Another emotional aspect was that the Columbus Nationwide Children’s Hospital sponsored the race. Every mile represented a child that did/does require medical attention. The day before I was reading through the paper they provide each participant and it shared each child’s struggle and story. I can’t imagine running that race and running past or high-fiving one of these kids as they cheered me on. What a privilege.
Right by Gumi’s house was Mile 11, the Angel Mile, representing all the children that have passed away. At this mile, parents of these passed children are cheering for the runners. Seriously, I would have cried. How encouraging to have these families cheer you on through your struggle (if I was running the half on that up hill mile, I definitely would have hit my wall and wanted to stop), knowing they have struggled through so much more, but they wanted to cheer you on as you run in honor of their children. Wow.
After the race I picked Gumi up at the finish line and got to hear all about her experience. After a shower and some relaxation, her husband and nephew got back to the house (they were filming the race) and we all went out to lunch to celebrate and hang out. And then I had to drive the 8 hours back to Princeton alone. But it was totally worth it to be able to see my friends and to cheer Gumi on!