Posted by: Karen | July 6, 2008

Marathon Weekend

I didn’t race at the Calgary Marathon this weekend, but I still got to hang out with some of the crazy nuts who work behind the scenes.

I still had to squeeze in a run somewhere, so Saturday morning I got up bright and early for a hilly 55 minute run on my favourite neighbourhood trails. The intensely green hills were alive with the sound of birdsong. The wild roses, bluebells and brown-eyed susans were so beautiful they took my breath away. No wait, maybe that was the hills.

While running high up over a freeway on a pedestrian overpass I watched my shadow below and wondered if the oncoming traffic would run over it. Ha, it missed. And bonus, I ran over a gravel truck.

I had a two hour run written on the calendar, but I was going to need some of that energy later, so I turned back early. As I emerged from the last wooded dirt path I heard country music playing from the local Stampede pancake breakfast – Kenny Roger’s The Gambler. I smiled and took the lyrics as a confirmation that cutting the run short was okay:

You got to know when to hold ’em, Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away, Know when to run

After the run I showered, packed up breakfast and some spare clothes and rode my bike 45 minutes downtown to marathon headquarters at the Mewata Armoury. It was starting to warm up and I got all sweaty again.

Dawn told me where I could put my bike and then I hung out at the CRR booth for two hours, selling new club clothing and encouraging potential new members. Heck, I even sold a club membership. By lunch I was very tired, but Dawn told me they’d ordered pizza, so I hung around until it arrived and then wolfed down a couple of pieces with a chocolate milk. My shift with package pick-up didn’t start until 2, so I wandered out to the nearby park and dozed briefly in the shade of a tree to the sound of finish line set-up.

Once back inside again, I cheerfully handed out bibs to marathoners for about an hour. Then the girls at the “$5-for-last-year’s-shirt” booth needed help, so I sold shirts. By 5 pm I was exhausted, so walked my bike to the train instead of riding it up hills on the way home. It still took me 20 minutes of riding from the train station to home, where I showered again and then collapsed on the couch while Hubby picked up pizza.

This morning Little Runner really wanted to come along to course marshall and cheer, so I got her up and she was a great cheerleader all morning. She cheered. She rode her stick horse around and waved her cowboy hat while yelling Yeeha and Giddy Up to racers. She drew stick-people runners and GO RACERS with chalk. She even garnered a few high fives.

We hung our old Penguin banners on the road blocks and the Canadian bear *jeanne* sent us came and held the Be Strong sign.

Penguin Cheering Banners

My Dutch running buddy Liesbeth coincidentally pulled the course marshal position across the road from us, and we cheered together.

Liesbeth at 35th Street

She clapped so much her hands hurt. We made a lot of noise and called our corner the “Party at 35th Street – only 4.5k to go!”

By the time Denise came running through, our party was in full swing. She was delighted to learn how far she’d come, and looked forward to finishing in good time.

There was some cloud cover for the first few hours, but then the sun came out in full force and I was reminded of my hot marathon in 06. I was glad to be cheering instead of running, and highly respect those who struggled out there today.

After the course shut down and the remaining racers were sent to the sidewalks, we packed up our gear, left out a few wet sponges for stragglers and headed for the finish line. I gave Little Runner the choice of going for ice cream or going to the finish line, and she chose “Both”. She wanted the finish line first, so we went and cheered in some of the racers we’d seen earlier. After a quick hug from Dawn, we drove home, stopping at DQ for ice cream on the way.

Whew. Is it Monday yet?



  1. Whew is right. I’m exhausted just reading about your busy weekend. I’ve done the expo thing and being on your feet all day can be tough. Glad you hung in there to cheer on the runners the following morning. I’m sure every one of them appreciated the signs and the good cheer.


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