Monday, September 14, 2009

Heart of America Marathon: One more inspiring story

ORN:  5 miles, R/W 2/1...felt good
One more story from the Heart of America Marathon a week ago today.  This one was a real treat and inspiration. 
Long-time readers of this blog might recall my story of The Man in the Yellow Shirt.  Briefly, I ran the last 7 miles of the Indianapolis Marathon in October 2007 with a man who had lost one and a fourth lungs to cancer over the years and had had a laryngectomy.  Yet, he was finishing up his second trip through 50 States at that point and just enjoyed running.  We swapped several emails that fall and I've been inspired since.  He told me he kind of liked that yellow, long-sleeve shirt and it had become a bit of a trademark for him. 
Fast-forward to last Monday.  Around mile 8 or so, I noticed a very familiar looking running gait, well ahead of me.  Very efficient, very experienced, very steady.  I recognized the wide-brimmed floppy hat but the man was wearing a long-sleeve white shirt.  Could it really be, though??  Was he here again?  He had told me in Indy he wasn't sure how many more marathons he'd do once he finished the 2nd 50 states. 
On the walk up the infamous Easley Hill at mile 12 with Cristy (MM  1473), she confirmed this was indeed the man I had run with in Indy.  She and Bill (MM1472) have run with him frequently through the south.  I caught up at the top of the hill, shook his hand and said how happy I was to see him again. I then had to ask "What's with the white shirt?" 
He laughed and told me he had bought this white shirt this summer but only decided that morning to wear it for the first time in a race, leaving the yellow shirt behind at the hotel.  We had a nice chat, working the rolling hills on that part of the course. 
Then it was me who got left behind.  Around mile 16, he slowly pulled away, along with Bill and Cristy.  They gradually moved on and ended up beating me by over 8 minutes.  We laughed again at the end. 
And I'm still inspired by the Man in the Yellow (or white) Shirt.  With no fanfare or desire for attention, he just keeps running.  I'll protect his privacy...but appreciate him with me. 
Talk about perseverance...he has it in spades.   


Backofpack said...

Very inspiring - and amazing! Well worth sharing with all of us. People have the most amazing stories, if we just take the time to listen. Thanks Joe!

PS. Good photos on the post before this - you two look great!

Wes said...

humble people are the best :-)

Darrell said...

It's a cool story. And it just goes to show you how small the world is. The running world is even smaller.