Blog-a-thon: A reason to run

This blog submission comes to us from “GeoBlog”, the Michigan State Geography Department’s very own blog! All the online courses offered by MSU’s Geography Department have a link
to the GeoBlog, and they use this GeoBlog to highlight geography-related
news events and other items associated with class topics. Students can
comment on the GeoBlog and write posts for extra credit; it’s become a popular
feature of the school’s online classes. To read this blog in full or more from the Michigan State University GeoBlog, follow this link.

Last March a friend of mine came to me and asked what I thought about running a 1/2 marathon to raise money for my sister-in-law who is battling pancreatic cancer, and struggling financially. Having never ran more than a mile or two in my life, how could I say no?

So my journey began. First one mile, then two, three, and pretty soon, I considered 6 or 7 miles an easy day. At the time I was overwhelmed by the idea of a big city marathon and was opting to take a more suburban route. But then, something changed. I got more confident, I got more excited, and soon I wanted to cross the Ambassador Bridge into Canada and back. I applied for my enhanced driver’s license and registered to run my 13.1 in the Detroit Marathon.

In the days leading up to Sunday, October 16, I was nervous. Not about the run, I could do that, but about the crowds, the parking, finding my corral, even losing my support system. What if I couldn’t find my husband and friends? What if I got separated from my running buddy? I had so many concerns about this race, never once did I even consider what I was about to gain.

reasontorun.JPGAs I got into my corral, I was surrounded by a more than friendly crowd, many wearing Michigan State and Detroit Lions gear. Some from out of state, and others who lived mere blocks from the starting line. As the horn sounded and we began to run, I couldn’t get the grin off my face. I was in the “D,” being cheered on by locals, and about to cross an enormous bridge into a whole other country! At that point I was wishing I had a camera so that I could share what I was seeing. As we made our way through the border crossing, a man with a mega phone was chanting “Go green!” and lamenting the Tigers loss. He even heckled a runner who shouted “Go blue!”

Along the river front in Canada, underwater through the tunnel, and back into the United States, there was something amazing about coming back home again, though I had only been gone 5 miles. I got to see the beautiful homes in one of Detroit’s oldest neighborhoods, Corktown, and sense the surprisingly welcomed smells coming from Mexicantown. Finally we were back in downtown, and on Fort Street, approaching the finish line. I never realized how much I could appreciate the support of a home crowd or the pride I could feel for the city. I was sad to leave, sad it was over, grateful for what it had shown me. Detroit is an amazing place. Though it may be fraught with problems, they are not insurmountable nor are they greater than the community of people that consider Detroit their home.

“jb”, Michigan State University GeoBlog

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