My blog has included thoughts on running over the last month leading up to the Mount Desert Island Marathon, Half Marathon, and Relay. Running is one of the many ways that I get out to adventure, explore, and connect with the natural world. There is something so minimal and freeing about it. Even on the days when I feel like I am running upstream on a molasses river.
Over the weekend, I was one of about 1,800 runners who came together at the Mount Desert Island Marathon, Half Marathon, and Relay. Runners of all different ages and geographic locations (throughout the United States and abroad) hit the pavement on the scenic and oh so hilly course. I have to say it is a pretty awesome tribe of people.
I could detail how the run went for me. The miles that flew by and the hills I fought up in a head wind. But that is not how I would describe what it was like to run the race. Here is what I would say.
Volunteers make it happen and they were phenomenal. They cheered, danced, sang, played music, and cheered some more. A person in a banana costume danced and cheered. A woman played the bagpipes. A DJ played tunes and sang. And the St. Jude alley was nothing short of energizing. There were decorations along the sides of the road, sidewalk chalk on the ground sharing encouragement, and many smiling cheering faces. Here is a video captured by Brendan Sloan (while running his first half marathon) to give you a sense of what it was like for runners.
Every water station had a line of volunteers ready and waiting to refuel runners. Even on quiet moments, I would see folks in chairs drinking coffee and watching the race.
At perhaps my favorite refuel station, a line of children stood with their hands in the air and the sign read something like “High Fives For Power.” Oh, heck yeah. I high-fived every one of those hands.
I hope the children saw that running is not just for the elite, but it is for everyone. I hope they soaked in all of the men and women of various ages, shapes, and sizes coming together to run. I hope they saw the joy and strength, determination and toughness.
Whether runners were approaching the finish line grinning ear to ear or trying to hold back a grimace of pain, they kept putting one foot in front of the other. Congrats runners and high fives to all of the volunteers!