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OKC Memorial Marathon: A big dose of inspiration

For runners in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, these days before the race are spent in psych-up mode.

Yes, the challenge will be big, no matter what distance you are running. Sure, there will be struggles and pains and moments of “Why the heck did I pay good money to do this?”


Because I can do it!

That’s the kind of thing runners are thinking as they prepare for Sunday — or at least they are if they’re anything like me. I’ve never run a half marathon before, but I’ve psyched myself up so high that I actually found myself scouring the internet the other night for the NEXT half marathon I will run.

(Who am I, and what happened to my mental well-being?!?)

So, if you are needing a little mental boost as you prepare for the Memorial Marathon, here’s something that I ran across. It’s a story from the Boston Marathon, which was run on Monday, but in this case, the story took place on Monday and Tuesday.

Maickel Melamed was the last person to finish the Boston Marathon. It took him nearly 20 hours through cold and rain and even dark of night.

Melamed, who is from Venezuela, suffers from a rare muscular disorder that makes walking and moving difficult. But constantly surrounded by supporters who would cheer and pick him up when he stumbled or hold him up when he needed an arm to lean on, Melamed made it.

You’re going to want to watch the video here. Be watching for the close up of Melamed’s footsteps, of how short they were.

I have thought about his footsteps since seeing this video. He knows how slow he moves. He knows it was going to take him hours and hours to finish the race. I wonder, “What was going through his mind in those days before he started the marathon?”

I know what is going through my mind after seeing his example — suddenly, going 13.1 miles in my slow but able body doesn’t seem all that daunting.

Thank you, Maickel, for your small steps and your big inspiration.

Jenni Carlson

Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football... Read more ›