As Santa arrived from the North Pole in Reading last Saturday, 27,000 runners from all over the world were arriving in Philadelphia for the annual marathon run the next day. I’m not a runner…not even a trotter…steady walker might be the best I can muster. But Margaret, our daughter-in-law, is a runner and this was her first time at the Philly 26+miler, and our first time to watch her. Perfect day for whatever one would choose to do outside, and the city looked autumnally festive. What “fun” these people have. All nationalities, all ages, speeds, sizes, and shapes. Some wore tutus, one ran as a Roman centurian in toga and sandals, one as Uncle Sam, many bearing flags, one as a can of Spam. They made it look so easy as they floated across the finish line. And yet I know from Margaret’s experiences that she trains dilligently year-round, at 4:30 AM, for this opportunity to improve on her previous times. And that is exactly the point. For only a few of those 27,000 is it about winning a race. For everyone else it is about giving their best effort and realizing what they can achieve. The other 100,000 of us (and hundreds of well-behaved dogs) there to watch, saluted that. Margaret improved her personal time by 7 minutes, finishing the course in 4 hours, 46 minutes, 23 seconds, and was euphoric. Congratulations all around.
And so it was such a jolt while driving home later in the day to learn that two of the marathoners died during the race. We know no more, but we can only hope that they, too, were having a wonderful day and were on the mark to achieve their best.
Thanksgiving, this American holiday, provides a grand opportunity to reflect. Thank you, Jane, for your thankful thoughts. Good health and good will to all mankind; a cornucopia to my lady-kind friends.