August 16, 2008

Running the Race Before Me

The 2004 Athens Olympics marked the 20th anniversary of the Women’s Marathon in the Olympics. I was blessed (and I say that in a true way, not in a snarky way) to see a reply of Joan Benoit’s gold medal race in the 1984 LA Olympics. I have a picture, framed, of Joan Benoit, that I used to have by my treadmill to serve as inspiration. If you call yourself a feminist, she has to be one of your heroes. For years, the men in charge of the games thought that women would be unable to handle the marathon. They believed our bodies would collapse. Current studies and races are leading to the possibility of women being better at the marathon than men.

I then was able to see (in 2004) the complete men’s and women’s marathons. I sat on the floor, glued to the TV, weeping throughout both races. Watching these men and women complete this grueling task caused more emotion than any other sporting event I’ve witnessed. I wept when Paula Radcliffe had to drop out, and sobbed openly when Deena Kastor won the bronze medal. I found the men’s race just as impacting. I kept thinking of Paul, running the race before him. There is no more apt metaphor for life than the marathon.

Currently Watching: The 2008 Beijing Olympics Women’s Marathon—please join me if you can. They will replay it late tonight—I only hope they will play it in its entirety. Oh, no! Deena Kastor just dropped out of the race—holding her foot! No! Tragedy already.


Hannah said...

tell me you loved you some 38 yr old romanian kicking everyone's butt!

Amanda said...

I did. I totally did--and I love Katherine the Great--she always looks so elegant while running--so I was glad that she won the silver.