Son, Which One Are You?

Yesterday I went to watch my son Anthony run in the Chicago marathon.  My other son and his fiance picked me up bright and early to catch a glimpse of the running Ponce and we picked a spot on the North Side, near mile 8.  According to reports, there were about 40,000 runners.  At first there’s just a trickle of elite runners, then the crowd gets thicker and thicker.  By the time marathoners of Anthony’s caliber got  to our spot, it was pretty much wall-to-wall runners.

The three of us furiously scanned the crowd–eyes darting over the sea of singlets and running caps.  My eyes would sweep a group, then quickly focus on a person who looked like Anthony.  I repeated that process hundreds of times.  Groups would go by with someone carrying a sign indicating the finish time that group was aiming for in hours and minutes.  There were signs for groups aiming to finish in 3:00, 3:10, 3:15 and so on.  We knew Anthony’s goal was 3:10.  But when that group went by, we didn’t see him.

Finally a group went by carrying a sign that said 3:45.  In that group was a guy running inside an unwieldy, 5-foot-tall scale model of the Eiffel Tower.  That’s when we knew we had simply missed Anthony in the crowd earlier.  It was frustrating.

So we left the race course exhausted from the eye strain and concentration — and with an odd sideways kind of vertigo from the repetitive eye movement.  As for Anthony — he wound up finishing with a good, solid time–well ahead of the group with the Eiffel Tower.  Anthony may not be an elite runner, but he can outrun the dang Eiffel Tower, for crying out loud.  No offense to the French.

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  • Pastor Mark

    Phil,

    Your 1st mistake was to try to catch him so early in the race. I’ve found the best place to be near UIC on the back third of the marathon. The groups have spread out and the packs are thin. It is also an easy walk to the finish line.

  • http://willyvon1-willyswill.blogspot.com/ William von Rentzell

    My oldest son’s best pal from childhood ran it in 4:01. I pointed out to him that he passed the Air Force fitness test 17 times non-stop. I only managed passing it 1 time per year when I was 2 years younger than him. Kudos for Anthony and Geoff’s friend Rob.

  • Tim

    At mile 8, he was definitely still able to be running at his pace, about 7:15 per mile. Next year, bracket off the earliest possible arrival, and add 25 minutes to that. That’s how long you might have to look for him.. It is dang near impossible for people to find each other in a large marathon- runners can’t find their family unless they have a VERY specific location in mind.