Monday, January 15, 2007

Clothing Along The Roadway

We learned about an interesting phenomena this weekend at the P.F. Chang Rock 'N Roll Marathon -- runners throw their clothing off as they proceed down the course. This is evidenced by shirts, gloves, pants, littering the side of the race course as we cheered those hardy souls along. Apparently it happens in all marathons; last year two trucks were filled with collected clothing and netted $47,000 for Goodwill!
It was particularly cold this year (29 degrees at the start of the race.) That must mean people were layered up and shedding more clothing than normal as they got warmed up. One participant said that you don't want to carry anything that may chafe as you run, resulting in the clothing toss. It is an interesting side benefit to the local charities that collect and sell the running gear.
The whole concept of the marathon was motivating, when you see the variety of people on the course. Old, young, fit, heavy, chugging along; one guy was barefoot. Many were listening to something; some were talking and others were getting calls on their cellphones. People were cheering them, clapping, giving thumbs up. The concept of a band at each mile was a great way to keep them moving along, however slowly or painfully, towards the finish line. Others wore ribbon for various causes (Diabetes, Lymphoma/Leukemia) and ran as a team, watching out for each other.
I can only imagine the thrill of accomplishment at the finish line. It is the culmination of a year of training -- a thrill and a letdown at the same time. That is, until their next marathon.
I admire these people taking this challenge.