It was the morning of October 9, 2011 and I was not running the Chicago Marathon. Instead, I was training for the NYC Marathon. My friend Matt, who lived on Adams Street, invited me down to watch the Chicago Marathon in front of his apartment. That morning, I biked the half hour down to meet him. His apartment was just after the 13.1 mile marker (half way) of the 26.2 mile marathon.
Being a running nerd, I had brought my SLR camera and my video camera to record the sights and sounds of the marathon. I set my video camera on a tripod and let it roll and started snapping pictures of the leaders, and then continued snapping pictures of the hordes of the runners that passed us by. It was a picture perfect fall morning and got to hang out with Matt, his wife and their baby. We had a great time soaking in the whole carnival atmosphere of the event. We cheered on and high-fived the runners, calling out the names on their shirts.
Here are some of the random pictures I took of the rollicking good time runners were having during the marathon:
|Matt, his wife and son|
After the last of the runners that I knew had passed by us, and after I had snapped several hundred pictures and several videos, I said goodbye to Matt and family, packed up my stuff, jumped on my bike and headed home.
A few hours after arriving home, I saw this story on the news:
William Caviness, a 35 year old North Carolina firefighter, husband and father of two, who was on pace to run a sub 3:15 marathon, had collapsed and died 500 yards from the finish line at the Chicago Marathon. He was raising money for the IAFF Burn Center.
After hearing the news, I went through my photos, searching for a runner with his bib number and found this one that I took of him only an hour and a half before he collapsed:
|William Caviness just after the 13 mile marker at the 2011 Chicago Marathon|
I was also able to determine that he was in a video that I took of the race. Click here to see the part of the video of him. (He can be seen at around 3:16):
By the picture and video, he looks like every other runner, having a good time, completely relaxed and over half way to completing the run like the other 30,000 around him.
This year, I am running the Chicago Marathon. So, when I cross the finish line on Sunday, I will soak in the accomplishment and savor the moment. And later, I'll remember the images of a guy I saw out for a run on a beautiful fall morning last year, William Caviness.
Footnote: William's goal was to raise $2,000, for the charity and after he passed away, his total went up to almost $20,000.