188: Missoula Marathon

My friend Erin ran the Missoula marathon this year! Aspen, Brian, Dev and I ran the relay so she had someone to keep her company throughout the morning, and Lisa is sort of just a superstar and came to run the entire second half with her. It was a pretty great day. (Well, minus all that running. . . running is really not my thing, especially running directly into the sun during a very hot day.) Erin hasn't been a big runner for a long time like many others who run the marathon, she just likes to give herself a goal to work toward every summer (she's swam most of the lakes around here, last year she ran the half...) so it was really fun to see her achieve a big goal. All us girls ran the last part with her, and she had a great cheering section lining the road along the bridge as she came across the finish line.

I was also reminded again how well Missoula does community. There were hundreds of official volunteers helping the race run smoothly, but there was also more than 26 miles of nearly continuous support from all sorts of individual people, families, and different organizations. There were tons of homemade signs and posters with encouragement and inspirational quotes along fences and stapled to posts along the entire route. Tons of people had their sprinklers out on the road to help keep runners cool; many also had music playing and some even had drinks. One family was giving out little packages of gummy bears. Another had a record player hooked up to speakers. Many people along the way had their cars parked with their stereos going. They had a few dozen football players from one of the local high schools manning one of the water stations and a dance team doing another. I don't think I ran more than about 20 yards the entire morning without having someone else in the race or alongside the road offer some encouragement. It was kind of fun to be a part of something where everyone involved seemed so excited to see other people accomplish something tough.

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