What a marvelous time was had at the Kalamazoo Marathon today. Most of Pedal ran, but I was part of a “spirit station” on Oakland Drive at approximately mile 13.6. What fun! It was very awesome cheering as the marathon participants ran past.
But I’m ahead of myself. I went to grab some Water Street Coffee before things got underway. It was nearly eerie biking down Oakland with no cars. Eerie and kinda cool. And what a beautiful day! A bit chilly early, but more and more awesome as the day progressed. I arrived at the location to find our favorite band setting up and feeling good. We put up a tent, hung a banner or two and waited for the runners. As we waited people continued to arrive by bike, some from the neighborhood, some from quite a distance. And you could feel it: this readiness, this anxiousness to throw away the shackles of this rather dreadful spring and celebrate fitness and cheer on the strong. I promise: it was like a drug.
We started on the sidewalk, clapping and hooting and banging cowbells. As time progressed we found ourselves in the road, right beside the participants, still clapping and cheering and ringing bells and now slapping hands and making contact and congratulating these guys on getting this far and wishing them the best of luck on their journey.
A non-athletic friend of mine was amazed by all of this and said, “Wow! Maybe I should run a marathon.” Lemme tell you: you don’t have to do that to experience the joy. There are awesome 5Ks and 10Ks and sprint triathlons and every other thing out there. Don’t get me wrong; a marathon is a big deal, but joy can be found in many athletic events that require less stamina, training and dedication. For some events, and this might have been one of them, the crowd is part of the experience. In others, it’s you — your body and mind and big, big heart.
How does this fit into a blog from a bike shop? Who cares! The Kalamazoo Marathon was big fun, and I’m just thrilled to have watched my friends and neighbors compete and to have, hopefully, contributed to the amazing energy of the race.