Saturday morning I woke up at 4:45am, got dressed, ate some breakfast and was out the door by 6 am. Got dropped off at the start and proceeded to corral 17 wear my fellow Wear Blue Run To Remember (WBR2R) team mates would be.
Right after the National Anthem was sung the people in our group read the 43 names of the Soldiers killed in action.
I teared up as the woman in front of me had her head bowed and cried when her husband's name was read.
As we headed toward the starting line, the announcers talked about Wear Blue Run to Remember and the names were once again read out loud, this time by the announcers.
Here's a picture of the starting line sea of blue in corral 17
Once the race started everyone ran at their own pace. Every time I passed a WBR2R runner I patted them on the back and encouraged them along the way. I ran next to one Soldier that was running the entire half marathon carrying a full sized American flag.
As we ran around Lake Washington at mile 7.5 there wear two signs that read "Wear Blue: Run to Remember" "Honoring the Service and Sacrifice of the American Military"
Right after this were the photos of the Soldiers KIA
Then the flags, each with a black ribbon with the name of our fallen heroes embroidered in gold.
The flags were held by mothers, fathers, husbands, brothers and sisters of the fallen.
It was very emotional running through here. This is why I was running. For the Soldiers that can't be here today. To help the families find some kind of comfort. They were cheering for us as we ran by, but I was cheering for them. For their strength and courage.
Sybil Williamson ran the marathon in honor of her son SGT Patrick Williamson who was killed in Afghanistan in 2009.
As we passed each other on the out and backs along the course we cheered and encouraged each other. Giving thumbs up. I got to run for a few minutes with Lisa Hallett at mile 16. She is the co founder for Wear Blue: Run to Remember. She ran as a way to cope with her husbands death and started the group to help other wives and families affected by deployment.
There were many times where I would think about the reason I was running and I would start to tear up. I would think about the pain these families have gone through and any pain I was feeling running would suddenly seem so insignificant. I ran through every hill even the mile long stretches of incline around miles 17-20 except for mile 25 when we go up the over pass, got a bad side ache.
As I turned the corner heading towards the finish line I was getting cheered on by my fellow blue runners on the sidelines. I remember the announcer saying, Cynthia Ibarra the girl in blue. I ran faster and pointed my fingers to the sky to show that this was for them. Our Soldiers.
Finished in 4:07:34
A 10 minute PR
If you are interested in finding out more about Wear Blue: Run to Remember check out there website at www.wearblueruntoremember.org You can join their facebook page, donate or find out how to start your own chapter.
I look forward to running this event with WBR2R next year. Please check out their website if you would like to join the group and be a part Seattle Rock n Roll next year either as a runner or volunteer.
Thank you to Ingrid Barrentine from the NW Guardian (www.nwguardian.com) who was kind enough to let me use the photos he took on Saturday for this post.
You can check out more of the photos HERE