This weekend my wife, father in law, and I ran in the Marathon 2 Marathon (M2M) out in Marathon, TX. There are many reasons why I run but until this race experience my reasons have been geared toward me. My newest reason for running is related to building community.
If you do not know, Marathon is located in deep West Texas, north of the big bend region. With a population of just over 400 people you could call this a sleepy little West Texas town. This past weekend, Marathon was anything but sleepy. There were more than 500 runners that had descended upon the small town and the residents welcomed us all with open arms.
The race director, Marci Roberts, really welcomed all of the runners and showed her human side when she spoke about her why behind all of the work she puts in to the M2M. All of the money raised by the marathon, half marathon, 10k, and 5k is spread across the community to keep the community going. She became emotional while addressing the crowd of runners gathered for the outstanding post-race BBQ meal prepared by the Marathon Volunteer Fire Department and the award ceremony that followed.
Marci has been successful in uniting a community behind a wonderful event that unites a small town in the middle of the West Texas desert. She has recruited the help of high school students through the ROTC program to man the water stations and many local residents to provide a wonderful atmosphere for runners. Shops welcomed runners into their stores. The volunteer fire department cooked for the runners. Law enforcement, EMS, and local residents patrolled the course to assist runners over 26.2 miles (or less). School buses shuttled runners to the start areas. Everyone in Marathon was so thankful and appreciative to host us for a few short hours while we pushed ourselves as runners and as people. It was a community effort to make this a wonderful day!
I have been fortunate to call myself a runner for the last 10 years of my life. In those 10 years I have really learned just how welcoming and inclusive the running community is to all runners. Having run races in Dallas, Houston, New York, San Angelo, Pagosa Springs, Bryan, College Station, Nacogdoches, Marathon and traveling to the Boston Marathon twice to watch my father in law run I have witnessed the inclusiveness regardless of the location. Each race has one thing in common, support, encouragement, perseverance, and happiness. Building community through charities and worthy causes as a result of runners willing to support and participate is extremely common for most running events.
Marathon 2 Marathon was slightly different. The money raised impacted the entire community because it was shared throughout the entire community. The impact the small community of Marathon, TX has felt because of the M2M is enormous. It is more than a “shot in the arm” as Marci so emotionally described before the awards ceremony.
This weekend was the example of building community. Everyone came together and did what was needed to provide a great experience. Community is all about teamwork and collaboration. They have accomplished that in Marathon, TX. I am happy and fortunate to have been able to observe it in action.
This is why I run.
Director of Instruction and Leadership Development
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are
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