“It seemed like a matter of minutes when we began rolling in the foothills before Oakland and suddenly reached a height and saw stretched out ahead of us the fabulous white city of San Francisco on her eleven mystic hills with the blue Pacific and its advancing wall of potato-patch fog beyond, and smoke and goldenness in the late afternoon of time.” — Jack Kerouac, On the Road
It wasn’t until 3 AM when we staggered out of Golden Gate Park and onto the Presidio. We’d covered twenty miles, but it was difficult to see that as a great achievement when the mist was blowing out from the Pacific into our faces in the chilly pre-dawn and we still had over thirty miles to go. I was running with two Green Bay based members of My Team Triumph, a non-profit dedicated to exposing the disabled to athletic events. We pushed a empty running stroller to signify those who couldn’t make it that day. As part of the SF Marathon’s charity outreach, we hoped to use our 9 hour, 52.4 mile run to raise awareness for the great things My Team Triumph was doing and that the boundaries of what we view as possible are further than we believe.
The 52.4 ultra-marathon runs the SF Marathon course twice. The first half starts at midnight. Runners complete the course backwards. After reaching the Embarcadero, participant run the second marathon with everyone else. As we came down the hill from the Golden Gate Bridge onto Crissy Field, I saw two pairs of dim headlights in the distance. In front of them, thirty young women, all dressed in blue and jogging in two ragged, yet persistent lines. Some had pictures on their backs, others carried flags. This was Team Wear Blue, Run to Remember, a running community built to honor the sacrifices made by the military. Nearly all of these women had lost someone close to them in combat, many were combat veterans themselves. Faced with an emotional burden which seemed unbearable, they’d taken it upon themselves to meet a physical challenge which also seemed impossible; they […]