We come here to remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever. May all who leave here know the impact of violence. May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope and serenity.®
Rarely do I cry during a run because I am emotionally moved. If tears are flowing, it’s usually because of intense pain or a strong desire to finish a marathon! The ONE exception is the Oklahoma City National Memorial Half Marathon.
The run is in memoriam of the bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building which sadly happened on April 19, 1995. The Memorial itself is soooo well done and provides a very educational trail of events leading up to the bombing – they even have Timothy McVeigh’s car in the museum. I just want to throat punch that guy.
Anyhow, I had the opportunity to run this race in April of this year. WOW, what an impact it had on me. I met up with some of my most favorite clients and colleagues at the race start. From that point forward, the whole experience was gut-wrenching.
The race announcers asked us to remain silent for 168 seconds at the beginning of the race – I’m not kidding when I say this, 25,000 runners remained silent. It gave me the chills. The number 168 represents the number of victims of the bombing. It gives me chills to even write that sentence.
I am pretty sure at least 25% or more of the city of Oklahoma City came out to cheer for us. For them, this race is about moving on, trying to celebrate lives lost, and finding comfort in being part of a tight community.
Seeing the spectators and realizing that nearly every single person out there had a connection to this tragedy, was moving for me. They re-routed the course this year to run through a neighborhood where many of the victims once lived. Oh boy, the loving memories posted in these neighborhoods were touching.
Throughout the entire race I was on the verge of uncontrollable tears. I got to about mile 10, which is called Gorilla Hill – the only real hill on the course. I finally laughed because there was a guy in a gorilla costume handing out bananas – he happened to be one of my clients. haha. That was the calm before the storm.
I rounded the corner and low and behold, they had banners of every victim who perished in the bombing, including the kids (all 19 of them). I started crying so hard, I couldn’t breathe – I honestly thought I was going to die that day as I could not catch my breath. Not one word was said along that 1 mile stretch of the course – everyone was sobbing.
The run, the course, the spectators and the reason we were out there on that beautiful spring day was incredible – I’ll never forget it. If you are a runner, I highly recommend this race. If you do it, go through the Museum first – just bring a box of tissues – you’ll need it.
Tears are flowing as I write this post – it’s good to feel emotion ❤️
The Life Bus