Monday, April 18, 2011


Have you ever seen a Marathon? It's a 26.2 mile race, including, in the case of the Boston Marathon, a grueling stretch called Heartbreak Hill at the 20 mile mark: this year, 27,000 runners competing with themselves to the finish line.

Watching the runners today was enough to restore my faith in humanity and in our collective ability to know what matters and to get it right. It is thrilling to watch the effort and grit required to run a marathon.

There were men and women of all ages, running alone, running in small groups, running by the hundreds, pushed forward by their own determination and the steady claps of a grateful crowd; wheelchair athletes, a few folks in their 70's, so many pretty regular people who had trained their bodies and minds for this race, for this time.

There was one special runner.

His name is Mike.

He is my son-in-law.

Mike never ran a marathon before. His number and ranking was 22,524 out of 27,000. He trained himself for months, wanting to finish in 3 hours and 50 minutes.

We his family and Janna who is also family had to be out of the house and on the road by 7:30 this morning so we could get to the other side of the route that would be closed to all but the runners.

We took ourselves out to breakfast, walked a bit to a spot midway up Heartbreak Hill, and we watched elite men with low numbers, 3, 12, 23 fly by as if they had wings on the soles of their shoes. We waited for how long? two? three hours? before we saw Mike.

We saw him coming fast and his four year old son--Mr. Ryan--saw him, and he looked unbelievably fantastic. He stopped to kiss Ryan and then Jessica, his wife/my daughter, and then he ran another 6 miles, finishing what he set out to do, 45 seconds above his goal.

Jess and Janna took the subway to meet Mike at the finish line and Ryan's three grandmothers took themselves and him to Dairy Queen for ice cream.

Later he talked to his father in the car by cell phone.

"Daddy,how are you? did you finish, daddy?"

Ryan gasped, then smiled a mile wide.

"Oh Gram, BB, Mimi: Daddy finished!"

I will never forget the sound of that four year old little voice, beaming about his daddy.

He finished alright. Yes he did. Quite nicely.

Yay Mike.

(Mike, if I'm off on your actual or projected time, please forgive me. Writers do that sometimes: they come close but not always accurately. I tried to be a good listener....) xoxoxo


  1. Whow! Congratulations from the Netherlands for Mike. He did it!! But I think the most beautiful part of this sport event was the admiration of a small boy for his father.

  2. That is so cool! Beating his goal by 45 seconds is a huge accomplishment (and that was with stopping for kisses). He has set a terrific example for Ryan....would that all little boys could have real hero dads to emulate.

    Guess who else ran the race today? Our pets' wonderful veterinarian, Dr. Chris Erion! (I'm linking to the staff info at the website, not knowing if you are on Facebook....but the clinic's Facebook page has a bunch of messages about the marathon. I hope he replies to let us know how he did!)

  3. That is just awesome - I was thinking of him yesterday. And I can just hear ryans little voice raised in admiration and love. What an accomplishment!

    I am off traveling for the rest of the week - have a good week

  4. This post (like so many others of yours) brought teares to my eyes. This is what it is all about, sheer LOVE. Thanks for always uplifting my day KJ

  5. What a wonderful story! I am so inspired by life and what we can do.

  6. kj You are much more optimistic than I am. Good job, well done for the runner but personally it will take a wee bit more than a lone achievement (though I am certain Mike has many more) to restore my POSITIVE faith in man.

  7. super fabuloso. hurrah for Mike. Those runners are amazing for sure. What a thrill for Mr. Ryan too!!

  8. Bravo to Mike. What matters most is that he trained - he ran - he finished.....and all of his family were there to be a part of his truimph.


    ♥ Robin ♥

  9. Congratulations to Mike!!! I always wanted to run a marathon, 8 miles is my personal best, in under 2 hours, but due to bad knees, I doubt I will ever beat that. Mike must feel wonderful! And what a great thing for his children to see! xoxo

  10. suki, i was damn impressed that a four year old child could manage to hang in over three hours on a sidewalk curb.

    wrobin, you said this so succinctly this could have--should have!--been my whole post! :^)

    dear annie the runner: your knees and mine! some things are best spectatored. (i made up that word)

  11. kj i'm thinking mike will be so thrilled with your post, the numbers won't matter.

    what an accomplishment and sense of pride for the whole family. Well done Mike!!

    i do know just what you mean about these events, i used to race (before knee surgery, half marathons and sprint triathalons were as far as i'd gotten)and the comraderie and support of everyone, runners (or bikers or swimmers)and spectators is incredible. and that feeling stays with everyone for a long long time. what a wonderful day!

  12. wieneke, thank you. i so agree: witnessing mr. ryan taking it all in was so heartfilled. xo

    lydia, i think mike was actually 45seconds short but afterall he stopped to kiss his family! that is so cool about dr. erion. i hope he did well.

    mim, safe travels. i miss you and i love you. so there!

    joss, hahahaha, i am going to make you cry so soon?! is it bad that i don't mind? :^) so nice to have you back. ♥

    rdl, thank you for your visit here. i agree: seeing all these runners was totally inspirational. they just kept putting one foot in front of another.....

    aww mark, it wasn't just mike. it was 27,000 people who pushed themselves to run their own race. watching was inspirational and hopeful to everyone there. it's the simple things like this that remind me that our species CAN be capable of well more than conflict and confusion. xoxo

  13. Yay!! Mike!
    You have the most supportive family, I love it!!

  14. Wonderfully loving post, KJ! I can't run for anything, so I support wholeheartedly those who do since I know how grueling it is. Congrats to Mike, as that's a huge goal to accomplish, and it's very kind of you to post about it for him. :)

    Hugs to you both!

  15. No mean feat. I have trouble running for the bus!

  16. Yay, Mike! That is quite an accomplishment. Heck, I'd feel great if I walked it. :) Xo Pam

  17. Jeez Louise, what a proud day! I knew he could do it. And the money he raised for Children's Hospital was a huge thing too. Yay Mike!

    You know I "heard" Ryan's voice in the words you posted. I can do his voice and yours pretty well! hahahaha :)

    Hey, I'm feelin' a lotta love in this post.♥

    Later gator...we're due for a face to face, right?


  18. marie, we love eachother and doesn't that make even the hard parts worth it? (i know you know) ♥

    tracey, i can't run for anything either, which is sad, because long ago when i did run, i remember when invincibility took over the pain and i felt like i could run forever xo

    hells, no mean FEAT? hahahaha!

    pam i even wonder if i COULD walk it! (i doubt it, damn knee) :^)

    lo, mike raised $ 6500 and as you know, the bowlathon turned out to be quite a blast! and yes, ready for a face to face in barrington, then in northampton, then in ptown
    :^) & ♥

  19. Wow! That's quite an accomplishment! His son must be so proud! as well as his Mom and wife! Mike's good-looking, too!
    I saw a group was running on behalf of NORD, the National Organization for Rare Diseases. Americans are great for creating these grass roots movements; can't always depend on the government... xxox

  20. Hey Karen it's your favorite son-in-law. After injuries and illness my training never elevated to the level I wanted it to be at. I was actually trying for a 3:39:00 and just couldn't hang on. As a competitor you're never proud of missing your goals but I'm proud I finished and what's more important is that my son and family are proud of me. That's the true's not measured in's timeless. Thank you for being there, for supporting me and all that you and Janet do for us!