Reflections on the Chicago Marathon

In the Name of God, the Subtle, the Loving

I must admit: I was a bit skeptical when my friend told me that I have to experience watching the marathon in person at least once. He told me it was like a party and parade atmosphere, with hundreds of people all around you cheering on the runners. I thought to myself, “What is so parade-like about watching people running past you?”

His words, however, could not have been more true. Last Sunday, I watched my cousin run in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in loving memory of my daughter. He and another friend of ours were running to raise money for research into Ataxia-Telangiectasia, the disease from which my daughter suffered. The experience was nothing short of exhilirating. I was rendered speechless by the countless throngs of people running the marathon.

They came in all shapes, all ages, all sizes, all costumes, and all levels of physical condition. It was truly inspiring. In addition, there were people running for all sorts of causes: some for AT, some for pediatric cancer, some for AIDS research, among a whole host of others. And the people watching the race: they were amazing. Everyone was cheering for complete strangers. Many people have their names on their shirts, and the spectators would cheer the runners by name:

“Way to go, Ron!”

“Keep it up, Amy!”

It made me think of the “race” of life itself: all different types of people, each running the race of life at their own pace, for their own reasons, all toward the final destination: the Finish Line, where the Precious Beloved is waiting. And the gleeful spectators, to me, were like the Prophets: each cheering us on as we navigate the marathon route of life.

Yet, what left a lasting effect on me was the positive attitude that you could feel all around you: everyone was so happy for the runners: that they agreed to take on such an amazing and difficult challenge was truly awe-inspiring, and everyone was cheering them on. The positive energy was simply infectious, and I felt a tremendous amount of good will as I watched the runners pass me by at different points in the race.

It reminds me of how powerful positive energy and good will is: it brings people together, helps foster a feeling of oneness, and it makes everyone around you simply happier. At a time when forces of hatread and exclusivism threaten to tear apart the fabric of our country, more of us need to watch a marathon in person and alwasys remember the warm feeling it gave us, watching thousands upon thousands of people run 26.2 miles.

It also made me think about what it would feel like to run the race myself and cross that finish line. It is truly a daunting task: running up to 6 hours straight. But, to finish such a task would be absolutely amazing. When I saw my cousin after he finished, I was almost brought to tears. He was limping in extreme pain: his legs cramped up at about mile 19, and he was almost crawling at the end of the race. But, it was not out of sadness, but pure pride and love. I was so proud of him for finishing the race (in a great time, even with the injury) and humbled and honored that he did so for my daughter.

I imagined how it would be like if I could do such a thing: run the marathon and finish before the end car pushed me along. It would be totally wonderful…

It would be totally wonderful…


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