On April 21, Peter Koech, Abraham and I are heading to Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, the mission of which is to celebrate life, reach for the future, honor the memories of the victims of the Murrah Federal Building bombing, and unite the world in hope. We are honored to be attending for our second year, part of the 25,000+ strong gathering from every state, and countries around the world.
While searching for a new race expo last year, I stumbled on OKC and was excited to learn that it is just an 8 hour drive from Santa Fe, doable for participants from Oklahoma to join us in September. Santa Fe is perfect for a long weekend and a peak experience followed by a few days of celebration and relaxation in the Land of Enchantment, including a soak in an outdoor hot tub and a massage at Ten Thousand Waves, a cozy bed a block off the Plaza at La Fonda or the El Dorado, and unforgettable northern New Mexican meals at one of Santa Fe’s many renowned restaurants.
The next thing I did was reserve our booth for the 2-day expo at the Cox Convention Center. Our banner featuring the Santa Fe Thunder course elevation profile turned out to be the attention grabber. Our many great conversations typically started along the lines of “I love Santa Fe! But it’s almost a mile and a half high. Oh, but look at that – the course is downhill!” We made lots of friends, over 100 of whom ran Santa Fe Thunder from Oklahoma alone.
Among our new friends is one of the most positive and energetic people I’ve ever met, Mark Bravo, an Ambassador at the center of the running community. Abraham and I value the time we spent getting to know Mark and his guest, Bill Rodgers (one of my childhood heroes). I relished every moment talking with Bill, in particular his recollection of the famous battle with Henry Rono at the San Bias Half Marathon. Abraham and I were happy to pass along Bill’s best next time we saw Henry.
As much of a treat as it was meeting Bill, our friendship with Mark Bravo has grown and continues to. I brought home and read Mark’s book Momentum and pick it up on a daily basis, flipping to a passage that fits my need or mood. Bill said “Mark’s book is a great testament to the spirit: what tenacity, a positive outlook, and staying the course does for one’s life. It’s a must-read for one who’s serious about being the best they can be.” Mark has inspired our whole family.
We will be in booth # (I will update as soon as I know!) and will also be spending time in Mark’s booth. Peter Koech will be autographing photos, and he and Abraham and I look forward to sharing our experiences running and living in New Mexico. Celebrating life – what a fine way to spend a special weekend, above and beyond our every-day celebration!