I’ve never been to Duluth, MN, and might never have come now except for my son Kevin’s plans to participate in Grandma’s Marathon tomorrow. It’s the fortieth anniversary running of this event; and it’s being acknowledged in a big way.
This is Kevin’s eighth marathon; and I’ve traveled some distances to be there for more than half of them. There was Chicago, Lake County, Rome, and Boston. Now Duluth.
We were reminiscing and plotting this morning where I would be along the course to yell Kevin’s name and spur him on. Other runners often just see their families at the finish line. But I try to study the course and figure out where I might surprise and encourage him.
Chicago’s course, for instance, made it easy because it was a narrow loop. I could be at the five-mile point and then walk only a few blocks west, see him again at the nineteen-mile marker, and then hightail it to the finish line. The same was true of the cobblestone route in Rome. But Boston and Duluth are point to point courses. And given the traffic on Race Day it is extremely difficult to wait along the way and then get to the finish line to meet up.
My current plan is to be somewhere near the twenty-two-mile marker. Once Kevin passes I’ll walk the remaining four miles to the finish line, rather than drive through the spectator throngs and rerouted traffic patterns in a city I don’t know. I assure you he’ll get there long before I do. Still, this is our tradition . . .
Perhaps I should ask Kevin to consider only looped routes in the future if I’m to continue following him around the country and the world to yell, “Go Kevin.”