I was driving east on 146th Street and I could see flashing red lights about a mile ahead of me. As I got closer, the traffic was becoming more congested and of course, my curiosity was peaked by the crowd that had gathered around. Moving at a snail's pace, the traffic was coming to a stall. And there, in the midst of the lights, stopped traffic, and gathering crowd, I could see what all the excitement was about. It was another marathon. They are pretty popular in this city, but I haven't felt the Lord's call on my life to join in. My role is more of a silent encourager. Actually, I know the difference between a full marathon and a mini-marathon. In a mini-marathon, I would have a better chance at collapsing nearer to the finish line. Back to the runners in this marathon I was watching through the windshield. The police had stopped all lanes of traffic because the designated route for the marathon had them crossing 146th Street at this location. So I had lot's of time to watch and make a few observations. Some of the runners were obviously deeply devoted. Their energy defied their age. They ran like the wind was at their back and every step
seemed calculated and in perfect step. They showed up to run well. And then there were other runners who appeared to have decided to show up and run while finishing the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet that morning. It wasn't so much a body image observation as it was that they looked as if they started something and now 10 minutes into it they were looking for a bush to hide behind or a snow day declaration. I understood them. Moving on from the fitness observation, I couldn't help but notice that this event was clearly a fashion event. Some participants had spent significant time selecting their attire. From head to toe, everything seemed to match. The choice of pants, or shorts, or whatever you call those things was something that these runners paid careful attention. Some didn't care. But then there were other runners who reminded me of myself on halloween nights as a child when I would be trying to piece together a costume. It didn't matter so much if things matched or even if you looked odd in your outfit. You were all about being a part of the experience, and these runners were clearly loving the journey. It wasn't a fashion walk for them. And then you had the runners who were all about their own space. They ran by themselves, looking straight ahead at no one, only taking quick glances at their watch to check their pace. They wanted to finish this thing as well as possible, and getting to the end as fast as possible was high priority. I understood that. If I were running I would want to get to the end as fast as possible too. Uber style. Aside from the independent and very disciplined runner, there were clusters of runners who ran the median speed of the group. I enjoyed watching the community of these clusters. They would stop at every watering station, engage in conversation with each other, and never seem to notice all the other runners going by them as if they were part of an obstacle course. They were in this thing for the community experience. They ran as fast as the slowest, even stopping if necessary to re-start one of their group. Moving on, I did notice that there were some runners who were annoyed at interruptions or delays because of the traffic or police supervision. One minute they seemed energized by their process and the next they seemed agitated. I guess it wasn't so much about finishing the race but more about their performance in the race. I get that. One last observation I want to mention was that the race represented every age group. There were babies in jogging strollers being pushed by a parent. Young children running along, around, sideways, and pretty much wherever they wanted to. They resembled chaos. Young adults and middle agers, and then, there were some elderly people too. Age appeared to have no bearing on the individual's desire to run. They each had their reason. They each had their journey experience.