The Run to Remember OKC Memorial Marathon is not just a race. There is a history behind it and we run for more than a medal or a PR. This race draws people from all over the country. Last year there were 25,500 runners from 46 states, and 7 countries. For those of you who don’t know, I wanted to share what this race is all about.
On April 19, 2005, a Ryder truck parked outside of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City. A bomb exploded at 9:02 and 168 innocent people lost their lives, including 19 children. It was an act of domestic terrorism. Now in the place that the federal building stood is a beautiful memorial.
There is a reflection pool, a survivor wall, and on the lawn are 168 chairs that represent each victim.
Next to the memorial is a museum. The museum tells the stories of the bombing and the aftermath. Visiting the memorial is a very humbling and emotional experience. It is very somber and it feels like you are in a sacred place. It is hard to walk through it and think about the tragedy that happened, all of the lives that were lost, and all of the people that were affected by it. I think in a way that all Oklahoman’s were touched by this tragedy. I know this made me realize that terrorism can happen anywhere.
When there is a tragedy like this, I’m sure we can all remember exactly what we were doing on that day. On April 19, 2005, I was in seventh grade. I remember that I was sitting in science class when the bomb went off. My teacher turned on the news so we could all watch the coverage. I remember sitting in every class all day, watching in disbelief and silence. We are all too stunned to even understand what was happening. I had never seen anything like this before.
At the expo there is a booth where you can get an extra bib. On this bib you write the name of the person or people that you are running in memory and honor of. There is also a wall of 168 bibs, one for every one of the victims. At this booth, there is a book of the victims with their pictures and a short bio. Last year I chose to run for the first responders. This year, I’m going to run for the 19 innocent children that lost their lives too soon.
This race is a celebration and we run to honor the memories of the lives lost. All of the money raised at this race goes directly to the memorial and the museum.
This is more than just a race, and I am proud to run it and excited to make it my first marathon!