Several Sundays ago I ran the Hamilton Marathon. Thousands of runners and I gathered together and raced on roads that were dedicated and designed for cars yet became the grounds for human movement. Starting at the top of the escarpment and ending at the edge the waterfront, the total distance was 42.2 kilometres.
The interesting thing about marathons is that there’s a detailed process to get to the start of the race. Signs, volunteers and shuttles ushered us to where we would be housed before the run. The local community centre became the headquarters for anxious runners and family members.
The reason why I decided to take part in this marathon, (this is not my first and probably not my last marathon) was because I got to race down the Red Hill Valley Parkway. This stretch of expressway, which connects to the Queen Elizabeth Way, is only accessible by car. And when I travelled on it, the blurred landscape that is so fleeting from the window of a vehicle became more vast and expansive. Being surrounded by nature on a concrete plateau lent an elevated experience to my run.
As much as road running is more about the journey than the race, I look forward to the sense of community that surrounds the event. Strangers line the streets to cheer you on, feed you oranges and hand you water to get you to that finish line. And the clever signs they create to push you forward on your run.
My most memorable motivational sign I read while running was “Unless you puke or faint, just keep running.”
Photos by Richelle Sibolboro
For more images of Richelle’s marathon run visit OpenCity Project’s instagram account
Richelle Sibolboro is Managing Editor of OpenCity Projects