Many Ways to Run a Marathon: An Inspiring Photo Essay from Miami
Celebrating a Great Run
Catching the Marathon on Camera
I drove down to Miami (about an hour and a half south of my home) to catch photos of the Marathon in January 2013. I'd been ill for several years. In fact, less than two years ago, I nearly lost my leg. So marathoning isn't for me. But I did walk five miles that day - a longer distance than I've been able to walk in half a decade - and I enjoyed it.
It was inspiring to be around so many ordinary people achieving so much. And the fun started as soon as I got out of my car. This team was celebrating a successful run as they climbed into their mini-van to go home, in the same parking lot where I was starting my adventure.
Running Isn't for Everyone
So I was walking, and this fellow was on his bicycle. Running isn't for everyone. My wife has bad knees and cycles to work every day. Running, walking, biking, or swimming, it's great to be outdoors and moving under our own power. What's your favorite way of getting around?
How Do You Get Around?
What is your favorite form of self-powered outdoor locomotion?
Drumming Up Some Enthusiasm
The half-marathoners and marathoners got a bit of support at the end of their journey. Drummers from marching bands lined the roads in the last mile. Just as drummer kept armies marching in olden days, now they encourage health enthusiasts to pick up the pace on the way to the finish line.
I caught several groups of drummer. Some didn't offer much energy. But this band was into the swing of things!
Walking It In
By the time my camera and I got close to the end of the race, many of the slower half-marathoners were crossing the finish line. These three gentlemen were walking it in, and the fellow in the middle seems to be in a bit of pain.
Half-marathon? Thirteen miles is nothing to sneeze at - even walking.
Marathoners Come in All Sizes and Colors
The woman on the right celebrates her half-marathon with a big grin and a hug from a friend. I tend to think runners are skinny white guys. But in Miami, they come in all colors, shapes, and sizes, and from all over the world.
Come to think of it, the heavier the marathoner, the more impressive that she was able to make the run!
Picking Up the Pace
I saw this woman slowing to a walk, and called encouraging words to her. Many others were yelling "You can do it" rather harshly. I was more gentle. I let her know she was close to her goal and could run to the finish line.
Sure enough, a little encouragement goes a long way. She picked up the pace.
She loves to run, and I love being a life coach!
Finishing in StyleClick thumbnail to view full-size
Different Strokes for Different Folks
At the end of thirteen miles, I'd probably be crawling.
The fellow in the first photo is toughing it out.
The second woman is showing some style. She's driving to finish with some good energy and a nice pace.
And the third guy - well - He's just bopping along to the music.
The world needs all types of people - and it seems they all show up to run!
Marathoners can easily get cramps if their mineral balance goes off. Eating a good balance of calcium and potassium is key. The woman below, Daniela, clearly knows this. She's finished her run, and now she's going bananas.
Bananas are a great source of potassium!
Here are some links to keep you happily hydrated when you run:
I'm a big fan of coconut water, myself. I drink 1/3 coconut water and 2/3 plain water and feel great, even on a hot day on the beach. In Brazil, coconut water keeps party-goers dancing all night!
How Quickly It's Over!
These folks have just finished their marathon and - Pow! - Out come the cell phones. Life is back to its busy, chattering, noisy norm.
If they weren't wearing numbers on their chests, you'd never know they'd been out for a run!
Not Your Usual Marathoners
Rolling to Victory
It Doesn't take Legs to Run a Marathon
It doesn't take legs to run a marathon . . . just guts and heart.
These men were celebrating their victories in the wheelchair diviision.
On the right, you'll see a close-up showing the youngest as the men's championship winner. His friends insisted I take this photo to share his success.
Now I have to start to reconsider. It can't be an injured leg that's keeping me from running. Why don't I give this a try to celebrate my return to health?
An International Event
Like most major marathons - perhaps even more so, because Miami is a portal to Central and South America, the Miami Marathon is an international event. They had a stand with flags from every nation where participants came from. Early on, the winners held the flag of their country.
Later on, the flags are still there, and friends gather with runners from all over the world bearing their flag and smiling over their success. This young man's friends encouraged him to stand on the podium with the flag of the Dominican Republic.
A Quiet Run
I interviewed the guy on the right. His name is Hoby. He's an unusual runner. He did the half-marathon in good time, but races aren't his thing. He prefers to run alone at night. He says that running is meditation for him. He likes the quiet. And he says that if he starts a run with a problem, the problem is solved, or simply gone, by the end of the run.
If you want to hear the story of another unusual marathoner - and meditator - you can read about my friend Steve Joseph, who went from couch potato to marathoner in two years - without even planning to do it.
Pain and Care
Walking back to the car, I watched this young woman. She was limping slightly and in pain. I couldn't hear their words, but I could tell her mother was very encouraging.
Even though she was hurting, she was still taking care of herself. She saw me and tried to smile as I caught this photo of her stretching down - a good thing to do after any run, especially a half-marathon or marathon!
I'm inspired, and I hope you are, too.
I'm not inspired to run a marathon. I enjoy swimming in the ocean a great deal more. But I am inspired to walk a mile a day and to go to the beach one to three times a week.
Like Hoby, I like to exercise alone outdoors, and I find it a type of meditation.
But this photo shoot changed me. I feel like I want to be less of a loaner. Hanging out with like-minded people has wonderful energy. Camaraderie and charity are part of the world of marathons, too.
Who knows, maybe there's a triathlon in my future!