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OKC Memorial Marathon Spotlight


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The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon is perhaps one of the most iconic events in Oklahoma City. Coined as the Run to Remember, more than 25,000 runners and walkers gathered downtown yesterday, as they do every April, to celebrate life and support the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum.

As always, the marathon united the community, whether through the children who participated in the kids marathon, the elite athletes who raced in the marathon or the volunteers who poured in from across the state.

This year, I On Your Health followed several runners on their journeys to run their first half marathon. Lindsey Woods, mother to a very active 2-year-old, was excited to train for the event. As she increased her mileage every week, Lindsey remarked that it was an emotional experience. “Looking back to when I started this program and remembering that I couldn’t even run 30 seconds, and now I can run 10 miles and run/walk 13.1 miles is incredible.”

For a runner like Woods, completing the race was an important milestone, not only for her running career but for life.

The journey to become a runner has been difficult at times, Woods said. “I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis when I was 25, so getting around and being overweight really stopped me from being able to be as active as I wanted to be,” she said. “Being a single mom and raising my son on my own, I decided it was time to get healthy so I could run and play with him without feeling winded. I wanted to set a good example on living a healthy and active life.”

For runner Lyndee Stovall, training for the marathon completely changed how she viewed running. “I used to abhor running,” she said. “Until recently, the most I had ever run outside was one mile, and not long before that, running just a mile seemed like an impossible feat.”

She continued, “At the beginning of my training, I assumed that I would love running by this point, but I still struggle with just getting myself out there sometimes. The first miles are always so hard! But a lot of my struggle is just my attitude and the mental battle.”

Running is a community affair

The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon always places a strong emphasis on the importance of family. From including kids in the training to encouraging participants to find support groups, running is so much more than a solo activity.

For Woods, her brother was the inspiration and the motivation she needed to join a Red Coyote training group for the half marathon. “My brother pushed me to enroll in this program. He said he believed in me and soon I would believe in myself, too,” she said. “He was right. I can’t believe how far I have come, and I can’t wait to see how far I will go.”

Stovall found encouragement through local running groups, especially when training was difficult. “The runs I attended with these groups were by far the most helpful aspect of my training,” she said. “Thank you to the No Meat Athletes, Landrunners and Red Coyote!”

From training for a race to maintaining a weekly running schedule, running with the support of family and friends can be incredibly beneficial to mental as well as relationship health. With a common cause to cheer for, and a common goal, runners often find the sport unites them with people they never expected to meet. Indeed, the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon has become known nationwide as a unifying experience – a day each year when the entire community comes together as one body for one cause.

Learning lifetime healthy living habits

While many people are hesitant to begin running, the sport offers many health benefits. From building strong bones to strengthening muscles, running is a great cardiovascular activity for the whole body. (Note: you should always consult your doctor before beginning a new physical activity).

When training for events like the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, you train your mind and body to develop healthy habits and maintain a consistent workout schedule. For some people, a race is only the start of the journey to healthy living. Consistency in a healthy diet and exercise program breeds success, and running gives people a sense of accomplishment by allowing them to achieve goals, celebrate milestones and push their limits to new boundaries every day. Perhaps yesterday’s success stories will inspire you to give it a shot yourself in 2017.

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