Monday, September 12, 2011

Lehigh Valley Health Network Marathon for Via

I spent a few hours yesterday in the back seat of a minivan, chasing my friends as they ran a relay race from Allentown to Easton in the Lehigh Valley Health Network Marathon for Via.

The day was overcast and humid, but the humidity did not dampen the spirits of the race participants. The race, a Boston Marathon qualifier, is best-known for its full 26.2 mile challenge and half-marathon distance race. My five friends comprised one of 225 relay teams, which meant picking up and dropping off a runner at five locations, and cheering like crazy. The variety of stops required some sweet minivan maneuvering by Rob, the team's official driver. I had planned to run a leg, but was sidelined for medical reasons. Since I was the only van passenger who had participated in the race before, I became the team's parking director (aka backseat driver) and cheerleader with Jamie. It was a lot of fun to share the experience with the team, marvel at some of the costumed runners (red ball gowns? a purse and boa? gotta keep your gels somewhere, he said), and talk about each leg's unique terrain.

At the finish line, I took a minute to watch the medal ceremony. It was pretty inspiring to see the faces of the people who'd finished hours earlier... people in their 70s not only completing the marathon, but keeping pace with (and sometimes smoking) runners half their age... moms and dads and dog owners who shared the moment with their loved ones... athletes who have sacrificed a lot in order to be among the best runners in the field. And although it was reported that a large number of out-of-towners participated this year, it certainly didn't sound like it from the announcements.

I hope to participate in the race next year, and give a lot of credit to my friends on Team Bobbo:
  • my (and Stella's) loyal running buddy, our captain Lindsay
  • another loyal year-round running buddy, and the runner who took on the longest leg (with the shortest legs on the team!) Dana
  • Rob, our minivan driver, Lindsay's husband and FH's best friend, who we learned is an angry runner
  • the speedy Eileen (so speedy we almost missed her at the exchange looking for parking in Freemansburg), our pinch-runner
  • and Lindsey's friend Jamie's husband Chris, who had completed the Spartan Race the previous day 
I shared this thought with Dana at the finish line - not to take the race too metaphorically or anything: it's hard to believe that in a region where people balk at driving from their home in Allentown to a business or event in Easton, that 3,000 people would pay to run the distance instead!


  1. It was so great to have you in the van for support and giggles. Could only have been better if you were running with us! I doubt it will be long before you're back on your feet again and we'll be back to our 6am runs. :) Thanks for the shout-out in the post too, I giggled when I read 'longest leg with the shortest legs). :)

  2. I'm so inspired by older runners too. That dominates! Didn't know about this marathon and will definitely get into an upcoming marathon for sure. Running is God to me! Cool article.