Run to Remember: Life Lessons from My First Marathon

It has been 20 years since the bombing of the Oklahoma City Alfred P. Murrah Federal building in downtown Oklahoma City. One hundred and sixty-eight innocent lives were taken that day, and over 620 people were seriously injured. Countless numbers of lives were forever changed in a moment.

I, along with many of my fellow Oklahomans, believed that somehow here in the heartland, we would be immune to terror. I believed a myth that we were insulated and isolated from the insanity of mass murder. That myth was shattered at 9:01 on April 19th, 1995.

In typical Red Dirt fashion, we endured. We rebuilt. We have grown. We learned. Now we remember.

The Run To Remember is this weekend. We run to remember and to honor those 168 innocent souls and their families. The Run To Remember has been voted one of the top 12 must-run events. Thousands will be running and attending the event this weekend.

I was fortunate to be able to run the very first Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon and it was my first ever marathon. I had just turned 40 years old and found myself overweight, out of shape, and drifting. A friend from my church, Susan, challenged me to run. She had never been a runner and had just had her first baby. She was already signed up for the run and she challenged me in front of some friends. Not wanting to let my manhood be questioned, I accepted the challenge before I knew what I had really done.

I had never run more than maybe two or three miles at a time and generally did not enjoy running. I found it boring and painful. But I had committed to do this and she had witnesses to my commitment. I found an online program for beginning runners and began the plan.

I had no idea what I was in for. I imagined many things that I would soon experience, and some of them came true. I was, however, pleasantly surprised at the many lessons and life truths I learned in my training.

I learned that I could endure far more than I ever dreamed. I experienced worship in a new way. I made many new and lasting friends. My health improved. My energy improved. My attitude improved. I learned that most people, including myself, give up too easily. I learned that there is always someone faster than me! I learned that sometimes hard work is the reward. Success is often just around the corner.

This weekend, I am running the half. I will finish slower than I did last year. My goal is to beat the winner of the full marathon! It is going to be close!

If you have never been a runner, I want to challenge you to start. There are many positive health benefits and I believe you can learn many things about yourself.

Remember the 168 souls and their families.