On Sunday was the 30th Annual Columbus Marathon, hosting 15,000 runners. The marathon starts downtown and winds all through the various neighborhoods of Columbus. It is amazing how much ground 26.6 miles covers. The course went from urban downtown through city parks, to quaint German Village, past Ohio State, up to the inner suburbs of Upper Arlington, the wound back down to downtown. A great course matched only by the leaves on the trees in many fall shades.
I volunteered with the Red Cross to staff one of the many first aid stations along the route. We were warned up front that the worst injuries would be psychological. This proved accurate. One runner blew her knee out and completely lost it when told that she would not be able to run the remaining 11 miles of the race. She described her pain as 10 out of 10 and could not put weight on the knee, but she refused to quit. There were various other similar incidents. One runner was taken away in an ambulance after an episode of hysteria when she realized that she could not keep going.
The sacrifice required to train for an event like a marathon is incredible. Practice calls for years of steady training and caution. All runners suffer injuries that constantly nag. It is a brutal sport, especially when the biggest reward is personal satisfaction. A runner who completes the marathon walks away with no more than a T shirt and a few pats on the back from friends. I was happy to end the day with no serious injuries. The Detroit Marathon the same day experienced three runner deaths due to heart attacks.