The above quote came after I tried, very unsuccessfully, to convince my friend and college roomie how much fun it is to run a race, ie a 5K, 10K or 20K like Dam to Dam. "You feel like you're a part of something really special," I argued. She wasn't picking up what I was putting down.
But my feelings were only reinforced as I watched hundreds of runners cross the finish line on Saturday.
-one girl in her late teens drug her friend across
-a man with a shirt that said "blind dude" smiled as his guide led him across
-a dad and daughter held hands as they stepped across
-a man in a wheelchair pushed a loved one across
-a girl puked up some yellow Powerade as she ran across (just in case this was getting too mushy)
-a woman cartwheeled across
Some sprinted, some limped and others raised their hands in victory, savoring the moment. It was an awesome experience to be a part of and that was just the 20 minutes I watched.
I also saw our friends Ben and Amy cross the finish in sub two hours, which is amazing by the way. And then I saw a bright yellow shirt in the distance. As my husband ran by at 2:11:59, I tried to cheer, but my voice got caught it my throat. I was so choked up I could barely muster a "GO ROB!" I was and am SO PROUD (for all you Paul Rhoads groupies out there) of him. And everyone who crossed the finish line that day. Whether they crossed at one hour or three, it's an impressive accomplishment to run 12 + miles.
My response: "I guess Des Moines will have to do."
p.s. Please pray for one of the Dam to Dam runners, a man named Josh Brungardt, who collapsed from heat stroke with the finish line in his sight. He continues to improve at a hospital in Des Moines, but the saddest part of his story is that his family became terrified as they waited for him to cross the finish line and he never came. I cannot imagine how scary that would be. Rob ran with his iPhone so was able to call us immediately after he finished, but this man was running alone with nothing to show emergency contact info. The family is working with Dam to Dam to put that info on the race bibs next year and I completely agree. No one should have to go through that again. Please keep Josh and his family in your thoughts and prayers...