In the year 2010, 144 people aged 70 to 74 celebrated their longevity by completing the New York City Marathon. In the year 2012 I will turn 70. Would I like to join the ranks of these hardy septuagenarians by completing only my second Marathon 23 years later? Absolutely! Will I be able to do it? At this moment in time, June 2011, having recently lost my soul mate, Bernice Betty Wagner, and still in the throes of a mysterious foot injury, I don’t assume I will even make it to 70.
In October 1989, I ran the Detroit Free Press Marathon. I dedicated that race to my mother who had passed the winter before. The moment I crossed the finish line I began to cry. I was torn between the extremes of exaltation and grief. Exaltation from accomplishing such an unthinkable goal. Grief from the surge of feelings I had suppressed since my mother’s funeral. That race was the hardest thing I had ever done, and the most rewarding. All credit goes to Race Marshal from Hell.
In October 2004, I let a Track & Field buddy talk me into running the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim in the same day. Harder than the DFP Marathon? Find out in Dinner and a Death March.
My beloved Bernice died February 17, 2011. Grieving for her is the hardest thing I have ever done or will ever do. Yet in time I hope to turn this grief into a lifelong celebration of the 19 wonderful years we had together. If I do make it to 70 and punch my ticket to the NYCM, I will celebrate with Bernice and all the other folks who ever dreamed of racing through the streets of the greatest city in the world.