“Kids of Steel” Consecrate Pittsburgh Marathon
As 30,000 runners prepared to participate on May 5th in the healing process bestowed on the 2013 Pittsburgh Marathon (37 runners of the recent venerable Boston Marathon who were unable to finish their dream due to the bombings were expected to compete here), 3,000 youths took to the roads on Saturday morning in the 4th annual Kids Marathon. Never a spectator previously, I felt compelled to witness this event driven by the reporter in me from my “past life”.
The race of 1.2 miles (the point 2 was no coincidence) was impeccably organized. The runners started in waves, which were stratified by school district about every 5 – 10 minutes. The marathoners ranged in age from preschool to upper elementary school. Similar to Sunday’s race, I thought the participants were about evenly split between males and females—the current trend. Parents and even grandparents ran alongside. I noted a few toddles riding on shoulders and some special needs kids as well. Many racers had the face of the serious competitor. Others smiled for the entire 1.2 miles! All received finishing medallions, which were a replica of the real thing. (This year’s medal seemed as heavy as a brick!) The post-race festival at the Point featured the usual staples: orange slices and bananas.
The kids crossed the finish line at the exact site that the 30,000 adult marathoners would cross on Sunday. I like to think that our happy, ambitious youths were running not only for fun and exercise but for a higher, more spiritual purpose this year: to consecrate the ground (as Abraham Lincoln would have said) on which we would run on Sunday and will continue to run on, undaunted, making all finish lines a place where we can experience a flash of heaven on earth.