I must confess that never before had I been a spectator of any marathon, but I imagine that this particular one would be difficult to top...The Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC, on Halloween day. Even though I enjoy writing, and sometimes feel that I do an okay job expressing my thoughts and feelings, some things are just better told through images. So this post will consist mostly of just that. And I dare you not to experience goosebumps, smiles, and maybe even a lump in your throat while viewing...
The night before, Betsy pinned Nate's bib number on the front of his shirt.....and a photo of my brother Jack on the back...
Betsy and Toryn created a sign to hold for Nathan. The morning of the race arrived early and chilly.
After riding shuttles to the Pentagon parking lot, everyone made their way over to the runner corrals and the starting line. As the start time drew near, this man right next to us reenlisted in the Marine Corps before running the marathon. Awesome.
One last hug from Betsy before joining the other runners waiting to start.
Did I mention it was Halloween?
Even without a costume, this guy stood out to me in a sea of runners heading toward the start line...
The course of the marathon was amazing...It began at Arlington and ended at the Iwo Jima Memorial, after winding through the heart of DC. Betsy and I had decided to make our way first to the 10 mile mark, behind the Lincoln Memorial, to try to see Nathan there. On our walk there, I took a few photos that captured the beauty of the race day and scenery. After seeing the runners, I was caught up in the excitement of the race, and I didn't take any more "scenery" images. But these will give you an idea of the setting.
I would like to direct your attention to the 2 runners right behind this car. Just over 50 minutes into the race, they had already passed the 10 mile mark. Did you hear me?? They had run 10 miles in about 50 minutes!!! I was astounded!
I was in awe of some of the runners, like this lady on the right below. And okay, I was in awe of all the runners!
This guy's awesome hair was real...
This guy's was not. But he was running in a kilt!
"To infinity...And beyond!"
Oh, hello, Marine Corps One.
Lady Gaga and The Mario Brothers were there.
These guys were awesome.
And this guy deserved mad props.
This was our first glimpse of Nate, 10 miles into the race. I was all, "Really, Nate?!? Really?? You've been running for 10 MILES, and you wave and smile and stick your tongue out??? How do you do that? How do you manage to look as though you are actually enjoying this?" I was impressed, to say the least. Of course, these were all just my thoughts, since he didn't stop to chat. :)
After that, Betsy, Toryn and I found a good spot somewhere between the 15 and 16 mile mark. There, we saw this crazy guy...He earned himself a spot in the Guiness Book of World Records by running the entire marathon while wearing a gas mask. Seriously.
And then, before we knew it, Nathan was happily jogging by again. Insane. He still looked like he was feeling great.
From there, we made our way to somewhere around 20 miles. The Washington Monument stood as a backdrop for the runners. Nathan was cruising right along until our yelling caught his attention, and he ran over to say hello.
A hug and a kiss, and he was on his way again, down the final stretch.
We hopped on the subway to make our way toward the finish line.
But alas, this was the closest we would get to the finish line. I guess when you have 30,000 plus runners and 100,000 plus spectators, it can become a mob scene at the end.
So, we made our way to the predetermined meeting spot and waited patiently for Nathan. There was lots of laughing and hugging when he found us!
You did it, Nate!!!
I was so very impressed, Nathan! You made it look so easy running your first marathon. I am so proud of you, and I am so incredibly happy I could be there to watch you run and cheer for you and congratulate you in person. Thank you for running in memory of Jack. That meant so much to me and my family. You know Jack would have been impressed by your training and your run.
As I mentioned before, the entire trip was an amazing experience that I will never forget. I want to thank God for blessing me with friends who have become family, and for precious times spent with them.