Long runs, short runs, injuries, running in the mornings, late at night and everywhere in between; runs around Lake Hefner, through neighborhoods, at the Y, along the river. New shoes were bought and broken in. Shirts were designed, ordered and distributed. Carbs were loaded. Bodyglide was applied.
Everyone woke up early, after restless sleep, loaded into various cars and headed out. As the Korenak van headed out into the morning darkness, the Blakleys were already at the Memorial taking part in the opening remembrances for those lives lost in the bombing 20 years ago. Kari took her place as the starting 10K leg of the relay and they were off.
Meanwhile, the other vans snaked through backstreets, trying to find meet-up locations and cheering locations without getting trapped inside the race loop. If you get stuck inside, you can't get out because the runners are so thick at the beginning couple of hours of the race. The Korenaks headed to exchange position #1 while Able and I slinked our way down to 23rd and Walker, then parked and walked five blocks east to cheer Kari on at the underpass of 235. There she goes, running with her friend, Lauren.
Kari handed off to Audra, Able got trapped inside the loop and had to abandon the car and hoof it two miles up the road to his exchange location. He actually bummed a ride off of some guys who may or may not have been more than a little higher than a kite. (I might add here that Able already had the 12K leg of the relay. Luckily Able has run the entire marathon before so he managed fine. )
I finally figured out a way out of the loop and zipped up the highway to pick up Audra after the handoff to Able following her fun run up Western and through the Chesapeake campus. Kari and Zack, meanwhile, were trying to make their way to Stars and Stripes park, south of Lake Hefner, where Able was to hand off to Zack. Rowan and Zane were delighted to greet their mom once she was finished running.
Abbey's crew had found their way to her handoff spot at 63rd and Grand and the Richards kids were playing on the grassy space behind Whole Foods. Audie, the kids and I camped out at Kite Park for awhile and then navigated the back streets to our place at mile 20 where we waited to cheer Zack on to his handoff to Abbey for the last 10K leg. Here is Zane, patiently waiting for his dad
and then, after picking Zack up (here is the entire family, together at last),
we eased our way down Classen, driving parallel to Abbey as she ran. We grabbed a parking place and ran through traffic (unfortunately, this is true) to cheer Abbey on from the grassy median. Due to our speedy exit from the car, we failed to get a picture of Abbey running. We jumped back into the car and took side streets down to 11th street and a place to park. Audra and Zack headed north to meet up with Able and Kari so they could all join Abbey for the last quarter mile to the finish line.
The kids and I meandered down toward the finish where we met up with Brent and his kiddos. Finally they all came running into view, the E.L.M.S Foundation relay team for the win! The crowd went wild. They got their medals and we made our way to the Memorial for pictures of everyone.
Carl's Jr. hamburgers, new medals, happy faces all around. Little Everett, who's quote adorned the team shirts had the best view of the bunch. The front of the shirts said, "I get down. I go fast."..Everett Richards. He used to say that all the time last fall when he was perfecting his running fast.
Here are the group shots in front of the bombing memorial. (photo credit: Brendan Richards, age 8)
Here are the ladies of the golden headbands.
Their team name, The E.L.M.S. Foundation means: Engineering, Law, Medicine, Spice and Kari works at a foundation management firm. Cool huh. Congratualtions everyone on a race well run.