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OKC Memorial Marathon: Let's talk about the finish line

Let’s talk about the finish line.

That was the subject line on an email that I got from my running muse, Amy Downs, the other day. And my first thought was probably your first thought — “The finish line? We haven’t even started!”

But who are we kidding? We’ve all thought about finishing a race in which we’ve been in training for months. As I’ve prepared for the half marathon at Sunday’s Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, I’ve thought about that finish line a time or two. A few weeks back, I did a long training run with the Oklahoma City Landrunners that ended where the Memorial Marathon will end — and you’d better believe that I thought about the finish line that day.

Thing is, Amy had something else that she wanted to tell me, and it’s so good, I’ll just let her say it:

“They have cameras set up to capture your every move as you come to the finish and cross it. So … think about that.

“Later, when you are in the old folks home, what is important is having a documented copy of how bad ass you are, and at (the finish line), your pace is not really as important as a picture of you and all your glory crossing over that line. So, scope out the finish line as you approach. Is there someone in front of you that you are about to overtake? If so, think about slowing just a tad and let them have their moment in the sun. Also, look behind you. Is there someone coming at lightning speed about to overtake you? Then let them, so you can have that one beautiful shot of yourself finishing this journey.

“Keep your face up. Don’t have that constipated look like you are about to die. Take head phones out so you can hear the cheers and hear them call your name. Do a little dance if you need to, but smile and enjoy this moment.”

Amy wasn’t intending to be funny — OK, maybe she was just a little — but I can guarantee that I’ll be thinking about her words as I approach the finish line Sunday.

And I’ll be smiling.


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 ›