THE 2002 BIG SUR INTENATIONAL MARATHON
April 28, 2002
Running the 2002 Big Sur marathon was, in
a word, spectacular. Everyone who ran the race has a story of
how they got there and their experience during the event. To attempt
to convey the emotions, pain, and eventual sense of accomplishment
in words is infinitely more difficult than the run itself but
like the race, the attempt is worth striving to finish.
If you have not experienced this race,
the annual run is the Monterey area’s premier event and the
effort that is put forth to make it a success is extraordinary.
So many things can be listed as the signature aspect of the
Big Sur Marathon: the jaw-dropping scenery along the entire
course, the musicians lines up to help the runners along, or
the masochistic Hurricane Point known to break the spirit of
even the most elite runners. But to me, the two most memorable
moments of the race involved perfect strangers and capture the
true spirit of this event.
Waking up at 3:00 A.M. was not fun,
especially after only four hours of restless sleep. While executing
my much practiced pre-run routine, the excitement of what I
was about to do began to mount. By the time my ride showed up,
I was ready to start the race right then and there. Since I
live in Seaside, we had to drive to downtown Monterey to catch
the 50-minute bus ride to the start line. Fear and apprehension
mixed with excitement and expectation swirled within me as I
boarded the dark bus and took a seat in preparation for the
long trip. Questions of my ability, how I would perform this
day I had been spent a year preparing for, and the morbid hopes
that I would “die well,” to borrow a line from Braveheart, filled
my thoughts as I listened to music in my personal headphones.
At this unlikely moment, I received
my first inspiration of which I would have many of this day.
As our bus left the downtown area, I looked out the window and
there was a young girl, maybe 16, who was obviously volunteering
to direct bus traffic away from the congested downtown area.
She was alone on a quiet corner, wearing a vest, and very visibly
cold. I thought to myself how miserable that job must be: to
have to get up in the middle of the night to stand in the cold
and direct busses. At least we had a purpose for our insanity
and a very visible award for our accomplishments but this young
girl had no such reward for her seemingly insignificant role.
As these admittedly selfish and judgmental thoughts floated
through my mind, she suddenly turned to our bus and a smile
spread across her face that lit up the cold, dark morning. She
waved frantically with both hands and her unexpected enthusiasm
hit me like a sniper’s bullet. Her spontaneous outpouring of
motivation and unsolicited broadcast of support touched me at
a very deep level. She will never know what she did for me and
I will likely never see her again but her simple gesture that
morning carried my legs 26.2 miles that day. To this random
volunteer, this angel in the cold, dark morning, I offer my
humble and heartfelt gratitude.
THANK YOU, WHOEVER YOU WERE
COMING IN FULL
MARATHONERS, START YOUR ENGINES
CRAMP IN A MINOR