Last Saturday = St. Jude Memphis Marathon. Doc had signed up for the half marathon and while he did do a good job training in the beginning, a nasty cold crept in around Thanksgiving and put a halt to his long runs. Even though he was still sniffling and coughing as we went to bed Friday night, he was determined to get up and do the run. Like last year, I made him a shirt with his name on it to wear during the race. This way, people cheering along the route can yell his name and he knows they're cheering just for him.
While he made his way to the starting line, we headed to St. Jude's campus to be a part of their spirit station. They had breakfast set out for us and a station where we could make signs for our runners.
I realized right after I made my sign that I misspelled Brian's name. Oops. Guess it doesn't matter though since I never saw him run by.
Since I had my camera and pompoms to hold, my mom took over sign duty.
She and Doc's mom, Patricia, were ready to go! I think they're discussing their cheering strategies right here.
As we waited for the runners, I walked around and read all the signs decorating the campus. I thought this one really packed a punch.
I guess that's a good way to get runners to put things in perspective. (Works for us cheerleaders, too.)
After about a half hour of standing around, we finally heard the sirens of the policemen on motorcycles that were leading the runners. I didn't take pictures because I was so busy taking it all in. The runners had to round a corner before making it to where we were standing, and we could hear the echos of the sirens and crowds cheering before we could see them. It was an exciting moment. And a moving moment when we saw that one of the first ten participants was actually pushing himself in a wheelchair. There weren't many dry eyes after seeing that. It was very inspiring.
The front runners were pretty spaced out but it didn't take long before they started rounding the corner in crowds.
We were all nervous we would miss Doc running by. Doc's dad (The Dad) held his sign high while watching for him (The Boy).
Finally, I saw him round the corner! Thank goodness for that green shirt. Can you see him?
I clicked my camera just as fast as I could.
He looked like he was still feeling good at this point - somewhere between the fourth and fifth mile.
Once I knew I had a couple of shots, I put my camera down and yelled and shook my pompoms as much as I could!
Not too far behind Doc was Beth. She was harder to look for since I had no idea what she was wearing. Luckily she spotted us first and yelled our way. (Sorry, Beth, that this picture isn't great, but it's proof that you ran a half marathon! Also, what all do you have strapped to your arms?)
Both Beth and Doc were St. Jude Heroes, which means they had friends and family sponsor their run so they could raise money for the children at St. Jude.
After only about half an hour of cheering, I started complaining to my mom that I was going to be just as tired as the runners. Shaking pompoms and screaming can wear a girl out, ya know? But, luckily for me, I had this awesome group of 4 kids standing near us that had more than enough energy to go around. They danced and yelled and chanted and high-fived and hollered for every runner that went by. And as they danced, they got closer and closer to where we were standing. It wasn't long before I was right in the middle of their group chanting with them. "Keep runnin'! Let's go! Keep runnin'! Let's go!" As I saw Beth running towards us, I told them her name and they chanted "Beth! Beth! Beth! Beth!" as she ran by. They were pretty awesome.
Here they are in one of their huddles to decide what their next chant would be.
When the crowds of runners started to slow down, I finally looked down at my watch to see what time it was. "Oh crap! We have to go! We're going to miss Doc at the finish line!"
So we loaded up into my little car and headed to the finish line. We were only there for about five minutes before we saw him run through the outfield gates.
He made it to the finish line!
His official race time clocked in at 2:05. I'm not sure what Beth's was but I know she finished in under 3 hours. They both did a great job!
However, when Doc finally made his way to me in the stands, the first words out of his mouth were, "I'm never doing that again."
I think Beth feels about the same way about it. I guess only time will tell if either of them ever run a half marathon again. I know one thing's for sure: I'll stick with the cheering.