Wheelchair Marathoner coming through first thing

My alarm went off at 6 am last Sunday and one of my first thoughts was “Why am I not running this morning?”.

I’m not some crazy morning person (quite the opposite actually), but I couldn’t help wishing I was running the Calgary Half Marathon that morning. I really enjoyed running it last year and was suddenly questioning my decision to sit it out.

The lady in green had so much energy

I knew a couple people running the half and a few running the full so I decided it would be fun to go cheer them on. As a runner, I know how much it’s meant to me to see all the people cheering on the sidelines so I decided to be one of those people this year. The energy of the spectators is just awesome.

So off I went to Bridgeland for the start of the race. I knew a few people who had volunteered to marshall so I thought I’d hang out with them for a bit. I ended up hanging out until the last runners came through. It was really great! Bridgeland was one of my favourite parts of the course last year. The spectators have to get their early, but they’re some of the most energetic and motivating people of the whole race. Not to mention, it’s a trendy neighbourhood so it’s got lots of good distractions. We were about 5 km in to the race, so people are still really excited and having a good time. There were tons of smiles and lots of thanks. It was great to see.

As much as I really loved that spot for cheering, I don’t know that I’d choose it again since I didn’t manage to spot any of the friends I knew were running. Everyone is still clumped together pretty tightly so it’s hard to pick out people you know through the crowds.

After the last runners passed, I headed towards the finish to meet N and my friend’s wife. I wandered through the East Village on my way to the finish line and spotted two of my friends running the half. It was so exciting to see them and cheer them on in the last kilometres of their race, especially since I hadn’t spotted them earlier on.

The three of us found a spot near the finish where we thought we’d be visible. It’s fun to see people cross the finish line, but it gets so crowded in the Grandstand that the runners usually don’t see you. I think it’s kind of fun to choose a spot where they’ll see you and you can cheer them towards the finish line.

There were a couple Guiness World Record attempts during the race. One guy was running in full lacrosse gear. We saw him near the finish and he looked to be on the verge of collapsing. The other attempt is pictured below. Can you imagine running a marathon attached to seven other guys?

When T came by, we cheered as loud as we could and tried to snap some photos of him. Unfortunately, there were some obstacles so they’re not the best shots. Sorry, T. I tried!

It was a really long day of walking, standing, and cheering, but I’m so glad I went. Races have such a great energy. Next year is Calgary’s 50th anniversary so I will most definitely be running it. It’s funny how I always think I’m going to take a break from running and then get pulled back in to another race. I was going to take 2013 off and focus on strength training instead of running, but I’m now running the Kelowna Wine Country Half Marathon in September with N and a couple friends. So much for a year off. I guess I just can’t stay away.