This is a thank you to the people who watched us run the Country Music Marathon and Half Marathon Saturday.
Bill, when I saw you tuning up on Stage One, before the race even began, I was so happy I nearly jumped up there with you. Later, when I passed you, so full of adrenaline and sugar, I blew kisses at you and all your band mates.
Jessica, I broke away from the pack and drifted intentionally toward the edge of the street because I knew you’d be at Water Stop One. I wanted to see you, even though I wasn’t ready for water.
Bonna: You didn’t see me, but I saw you – right there around Belmont … I forget which mile; I just remember it was that long stretch when the fast people are heading back toward town and the slow people are still heading out. I was still heading out. I was impressed to see many “real runners”, like yourself, cheering for us rookies.
Mom, Dad, Bill, Becky, Joe and Lily: I was SO happy to see you at Mile 9! You have no idea! I kept telling myself on the climb back up 17th that any minute I’d be seeing you, and that made it easy. I didn’t even care that I had to wait for half of you to return from the bathroom. The lost 1:45 was worth it.
Dena, I didn’t know you were at the Split. Boy, how I wish I had known to seek you out. That was about a mile past where giant twin blisters erupted on my big toes and the Cytomax was wreaking havoc on my intestines. I was in desperate need of a friendly face.
John, you were there with your camera to watch us run that final decent toward LP Field. I yelled your name, and you yelled back – two or three times, making sure you had caught me in your frame.
Joe: The awful knee injury that prevented you from racing that day did not hold you back from flying across town, muscling your way to the top of a scaffold to be there in prime position when all of us, including your wife, crossed that line at the end. I don’t know how you did it, but I know who you did it for. You’re a hell of a guy.
And thank you to the thousands more I don’t know: All the little kids whose outstretched hands I high-fived. The elderly lady with the sign that said, “If your feet hurt, it’s because of all the @ss you’re kicking!” The bands who hauled electrical equipment despite severe weather warnings. The race medics who carried a runner across the finish line when she collapsed mere feet from the end.
All you folks were right there where we needed you, whether you knew it or not.
I’m proud of the race I ran. I’m even prouder of my community. Thank you, Nashville, for an awesome experience.