Final Marathon Blog from 2017 Las Vegas Marathon
I wrote from the start that, “I am not throwing away my shot” and with your help, we raised a lot of money for the kids of St. Jude’s Hospital. As a bonus, I had my best marathon time ever in the 2017 Las Vegas Marathon. Of course, as after all my marathon finishes, I felt like I could and should have done better. I keep waiting for my Bob Beamon moment (aging myself here) – an athlete who in the 1968 Olympics bested his all-time best long jump by an unbelievable amount. A superior power came over him and he seems to do the impossible.
“I’m willing to wait for it.”
As you probably can tell from all the quotes in this blog, my inspiration during the run came in large part from the music and story of the Broadway play “Hamilton.” It delivered the goods as it kept my mind occupied for much of the race, helping to distract me from thinking of 4 and a half hours and 26.2 miles of exhilaration, pain, and ultimately, relief.
“The plan is to fan this spark into a flame.”
Besides the last stretch, the most uncomfortable part is standing in the corrals for 40 minutes just waiting for the start. I can relate to the movie City Slickers when the cattle are bottled up and then the exhilaration of being let out to run, roam, and dream.
“There’s a million things I haven’t done, just you wait”
Sad Start to the 2017 Las Vegas Marathon
The opening to the race was eerie as we ran right by the shaken Mandalay Bay Casino to the right and the grief-stricken concert grounds to the left. The emotion permeated the soul and the prayers started early for me. After clearing the area, we did a u-turn after a bit and had to repeat the scene and thoughts again.
“There are moments that the words don’t reach. There is a grace too powerful to name. We push away what we can never understand. We push away the unimaginable.”
Can it be stated any better than that?
With the sorrow behind me, I settled in and was soon buoyed by seeing friends and family members who were out to celebrate with me. My mind went to John Travolta in Grease when he showed perfect running form and speed to impress the girl (Olivia Newton-John). I was so smooth for that section. Ha
Settling in at the 2017 Las Vegas Marathon
After the excitement of the start wears off, little is left than hours to reflect on one’s life and the people, places, and experiences in it. It gives you time to slow things down and plan for your future days. Like those few minutes before you go to sleep, I use the time to pray for the world and tomorrow.
“And when my time is up, have I done enough? Will they tell my story?”
Then, it is back to reality. Each mile after 14 seems to get further and further apart.The last 6-8 miles test your will like little else. There is little to distract one from the pain and boredom those last miles of a marathon. Everything in you is pleading for you to “walk.” It’s a battle to fight that urge and give in as little as possible. I did the 2017 Las Vegas Marathon for the most part but would be lying to say I ran every inch of the race.
The good news is that along with the inspirational Hamilton lyrics and story, I had the support of so many and the children of St. Jude’s to help push me through the dreadful miles. I had the inspiration from one of my best friends who competed the night before in the 5K just a year removed from battling leukemia.
“When you got skin in the game, you stay in the game. But you don’t get a win unless you play in the game. Oh, you get love for it. You get hate for it. You get nothing if you…Wait for it, wait for it, wait!”
Looking Forward after the 2017 Las Vegas Marathon
I probably haven’t convinced anyone to start training for a marathon from my writing and that is fine. I also hope I haven’t discouraged anyone from doing it either. But, I hope in some way I have encouraged you to continue to look for the things and causes you are passionate about and “bring it” when you do them. I love running because it sets me free, both physically and mentally. Few things are better than freedom.
“What is a legacy? It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.”
I hope to follow up on the 2017 Las Vegas marathon by doing it again next year, God willing, and will probably ask for your financial assistance again for some worthy cause. You, the donors, mean everything to me and from the bottom of my heart, I thank you all. And maybe, just maybe we have made a difference in some child’s recovery. They deserve a lifetime to build their legacy.
“And when our children tell our story, they’ll tell the story of tonight.”
Jack Perconte has dedicated his post-major league baseball career to helping youth. He has taught baseball and softball for the past 27 years. His playing, coaching and parenting stories create better experiences for athletes and parents. Jack has written over a thousand articles on coaching baseball and youth sports. Jack is the author of “The Making of a Hitter” now $5 and “Raising an Athlete.” His third book “Creating a Season to Remember” is now available. Jack is a featured writer for Baseball the Magazine. You can also find Jack Perconte on YouTube with over 120 fun and innovative baseball instructional videos.