Thursday, February 24, 2011
The plane crash that killed 37 football players from Marshall University occurred in 1970 (eight years before I was born). Last year marked the 40th anniversary of that tragedy. Therefore, the race directors of the Marshall University Marathon and Half Marathon decided to honor those players during the 2010 race. During a section of the race that went through the grounds of the university, runners carried carnations to honor those who passed in that crash. It was very touching, making this one of the most beautiful races I’ve ever participated in.
This race was also fun. The last 100 yards of the race are run across the football field. As you arrive onto the field, a volunteer passes you a football. You then race to the finish line with your football. Upon scoring your touchdown, you get your medal.
The course was lovely, and, for a small race, had more volunteers and supporters than I expected. The best way to describe this race is to say it was charming and southern. In fact, the refueling options were very small southern town. There were hamburgers and hotdogs aplenty. The potato chip supply was staggering, and there were varieties of Little Debbies that I didn’t even know existed. You could also grab a fried pie and wash it down with your choice of Pepsi product. It was fun to look at the selection of food products, but I was really glad I had packed a lunch at Grandma and Grandpa’s. (I stayed at my grandparents the night before the race since they live less than 3 hours from Huntington, WV.) After eating my prepacked meal in the stands of the football stadium, chatting with some locals, I changed clothes and headed back to my grandparents.