I have always thought the world would be a better place if everyone ran marathons. (Let’s keep in mind, this isn’t even my favorite distance.) If you took a moment to put it into perspective; 45,000+ people (the Runners) gather together from all walks of life, different jobs, different countries, different religions and political beliefs, shapes and sizes, you name it – DIFFERENT. There is an additional 1 million people (the Supporters) who stand along the sidelines as Runners make their way through this 26.2 mile journey and cheer them on, and still just as different as the next.
For this day it doesn’t matter how different you are, or what your beliefs are; You all move together toward One Goal. It might each be done at a different pace or for a different reason, but that doesn’t matter; You all are moving together to accomplish One Goal, the Same Goal, to Finish the Marathon. Side by side through sweat, spit and maybe even some tears; if you see a fellow Runner start to falter – you push them along. You encourage them to continue. And if that isn’t enough, the Supporters are there to keep pushing you on through every step – as they yell your name, tell you your beautiful, and remind you of why you are doing this in the first place. You don’t know any of these people – so why would they do it?
And let’s talk about the Supporters for a minute; they sit in the rain, the dead heat, or freezing cold to cheer these Runners on and they want nothing out of it. Sitting for hours, running all over the city moving point to point to catch a glimpse of the herd and continue to cheer and ring cowbells and give out hi-fives – they will do anything it takes to help keep the Runners moving toward their goal. When a Runner is down – the Supporters come to the rescue. It is quite amazing when you thing about it.
This is something I have not only seen here in my hometown Chicago, where the people are amazing, but throughout the world, at every race I have been. The Runners and Supporters are the same; from Mexico to South Africa, France, Alabama, California…the list goes on and on.
I find it exhilarating to see this type of unity from so many people who know nothing about each other. But I also find it sad as to why I don’t see that type of behavior carry into every day life. Why someone cannot help an older person get onto the bus or give up their seat on the train. Or why when someone it hurt, they cannot simply stop to ask if they need anything. I don’t understand.
Marathon Running might be looked upon as a brother-sisterhood of crazy people who try to convince themselves running 26.2 miles is fun, and yes maybe that part of it. But I think if people became aware of the impact they have on one another throughout their race, Runners and Supporter alike, and took that same type of attitude into their everyday life; the world would be a better place.