Some Green Country runners brought Sunday’s Boston Marathon to Tulsa. The race was virtual this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but organizers said that didn't stop them from finishing.
Fifteen runners crossed the finish line completing 26.2 miles, nine of them running the virtual Boston Marathon and six others hoping to qualify for next year’s race. Trani Matthews with Tulsa Runner organized the event.
Matthews said a big group of Tulsans usually travel to Boston for the marathon.
"When that got canceled and we saw there was a virtual option, a handful of us started talking and said, ‘Hey, let's do one, and let's do it together,’" Matthews said.
Matthew said Boston is the holy grail for runners, so it was important to provide qualifiers like Amanda Garrison with an opportunity to run.
"I get to be with all of my hometown, a few of my friends, my family,” Garrison said. “It's so great to see everybody at the finish line."
The group started near 96th and Riverside, ran up to Festival Park before turning around and making their way to Turkey Mountain. The group finished at Spoke House Bicycle Shop.
Organizers said the running community came together to make the most of the situation.
"We're just here at mile 19, when a lot of people hit the wall and it's tough especially going up the hill, to provide the support and the encouragement and motivation to keep going,” said Maurine Dobson of Tulsa Galloway.
Bob Conner, a volunteer with Tulsa Galloway, was all decked out with lights, speakers and a voice amplifier in what he called his own little spirit station.
Conner said that he takes feedback from runners and modifies his approach to volunteering at every race.
"I'm actually going to be at the turn point up here,” Conner said. “So I'm going to make sure that no one goes past me."
Garrison said some miles along this stretch hurt more than others, so she's adopted the philosophy: Run the mile you're in.
“It's OK. I got this mile, and then I feel the watch beep and then it's, like, alright I go through that one and anticipating the next one and just enjoying the moment,” Garrison said.