"What's Not on My Bucket List"

by Rick Ropelewski

Everyone has their bucket list of places where they want to travel or activities they want to complete.  While I have that list as well, one endeavor that I’m very confident will never be added is running a marathon.

The Boston Marathon took place last week, and given that we have friends that live four houses down from the race route, that Monday has become a de facto vacation day / celebration.  Their house is located in the middle of Heartbreak Hill, a series of steep hills that start around the 20-mile point of the race; part of why Boston is considered one of the more difficult marathons.  (I get winded driving that stretch of road).  It is truly inspiring and moving to see the thousands of runners push themselves waaaay beyond normal thresholds of pain and fatigue.  Add in the estimated 500,000 spectators and you have the second largest sporting event in the world after the Tour de France.  The course is lined with everyone cheering on runners, offering words of encouragement and sugary snacks to help them reach the top of Heartbreak Hill.

I consider myself an ‘okay’ athlete.  Nothing remotely at the collegiate level, but if I faced a major league baseball pitcher I could probably foul off one or two pitches (if they threw 15 or 20).  But watching the lead runners go by is truly humbling.  I could sit at the 26 mile mark of the marathon, stretching,  chugging protein shakes and carbo loading and I would still not be able to keep up with them the last two-tenths of a mile.

A few years ago I was traveling a few days after the marathon.  Chatting with the gentlemen next to me on the plane, he mentioned that he had been in Boston to run the marathon.  He said that while it was physically very difficult, it was amazing to have people cheering and willing them over the entire race course.  He had run a marathon outside of Houston, and there was hardly anyone more than a mile from the start or the finish of the race.  A completely different experience for him and Boston was by far the most memorable marathon he had ever run.

The crowd and energy from people cheering you on, the camaraderie of the runners, the personal satisfaction of completing such a difficult undertaking.  It all sounds amazing; but I’m still not adding it to my bucket list.

We would love to hear about your bucket list or marathon experiences.