I slept the night and made my way to Livingston, TN. The Loonies marathon is 5 laps and starts at midnight. It will be my 3rd month and marathon. During the day, I visited some parks and walked around outdoors store looking at all the rock climbing gear to see what I am missing. I needed to find simple activities to keep me busy and not do anything too active. I could be climbing at Seneca Rocks in WV only 20 mins from where I live, but instead, I find myself 9hrs from my home to physically and mentally exhaust myself. I could not be happier with that decision. This was where I wanted to be.
At 9 pm, the race director lets me set up my tent on an elementary school front lawn to try and get some sleep. Regularly dozing in and out, I decide to get ready, eat a midnight snack, and line up at the start line. When we started, I was excited about these laps. The laps provided a good social environment since I was always passing by runners who cheered me on. During the first two laps, I was just moving through the motions. Counting down the distance signs, continuing to move, and thinking about anything. Many community members stayed up all night with runners handing out food, playing guitar, or cheering.
Once I had two more laps, most runners were complete leaving me by myself. Never would I thought that I would be running a marathon at 4 am. At that moment, a specific memory came to mind when visiting Tanzania with the Philadelphia Serengeti Alliance. While at a hotel in the Serengeti, at 11 pm, I noticed a girl walking away from the market area to head into the Serengeti National Park area. I was curious and asked in broken Swahili where she was going. She was heading to get water so she could have breakfast prepared in the morning so she could attend school.
Her story kept me awake and helped me complete the marathon. After 6hrs 15mins, I completed the marathon and watched the sunrise as I passed out in my car before heading back home to West Virginia. This marks the 3rd marathon completed.