Bombing Hits Close to Home: Impact of Boston on OKC Memorial Marathon

In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, I’m left reconsidering my upcoming 5k.


Word came today that the OKC Memorial Marathon would go ahead as scheduled for Sunday, April 28. I’m signed up to run my second 5K ever, and I’m trying to beat 30 mins. this year. But as of Monday, trying to beat 30 mins. became trying to just make it out alive. Add to that the fact that the race is in remembrance of a terrorist bombing, and suddenly, the event was in doubt.

I never have been a jogger. When I played basketball in high school, I would love to do wind sprints, but running a mile? No thanks.

I’d always get shin splints, until one day about a year and a half ago when I decided to do what any other dumb American in search of help would do–I watched YouTube. Ah, yes, the shiny screen told me how to run, and suddenly, I was jogging ten, fifteen, twenty minutes at a time. I had quit smoking a year or two before, and the new found abundance of energy I got from jogging motivated me to run a race.

So I signed up for the Red Bud Classic, a race that wound around the expensive part of town in Nichols Hills, Oklahoma. It was nice having the rich people come sit out on their lawns and watch as we weekend warriors huffed and puffed our ballooned bodies toward a medal and a Michelob.

Nothing like a beer and a banana after exhausting yourself.

After that, I decided to make that experience a yearly habit. But after the Boston Marathon bombings, I’m starting to second guess that.

I was in the second grade when the OKC bombings occurred on April 19, 1995, and we could feel and hear the blast from our classroom in Yukon, 15 miles west. After I rode my bike home, I walked into the living room, and the TV was tuned to the news, and I was promptly, yet gently, advised to remain quiet. We watched the footage of the devastation seemingly nonstop on repeat.

One thing that was visibly different about being Oklahoman after that date was the feeling of camaraderie in the state. I’ll certainly never forget that date, and I’ve visited the memorial many a times to pay my respects. When I decided on a 5K this year, I knew in my heart that this was the one that I wanted to do, and I must admit that I had a bit of hesitation after hearing the news from Boston. But after some thought, I realized that moments like these are what have defined my generation. We live with the sense that it all could taken away at any minute.

Today, I’m working form home, and I decided to go out and jog, instead. Just because I can.

Martin Richard
Krystle Campbell
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