I would say it’s that time of year again when thousands descend on Oklahoma City’s streets to run the Oklahoma City Memorial, but usually, we are running in the spring. It will have been two and a half years when 12,000 runners take off running through our city’s streets for the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon.
Due to the impact of COVID-19, we are running the Memorial Marathon the first weekend of October and then again, the last weekend in April when it is usually run. This October race will have smaller numbers than usual in order to keep participants safe and healthy. We are hopeful to return to our usual numbers in April 2022!
There has been nothing normal for anyone over the past 20 months but being able to lace up your shoes and run through one of the most dynamic cities is something you don’t want to miss. Oklahoma City is a city on a hill — lending its light to others to see that you can overcome any obstacle.
Now almost 27 years ago, Oklahoma City was attacked by a domestic terrorist. The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was bombed as an attack on our government killing 168 people and injuring hundreds of others. Oklahoma City responded with unity and clarity that made the world come together like it had never seen. It would have been easier to quit, but the people came together to heal, work through differences and rebuild our city.
What you enjoy today is a City that has been rebuilt and renewed when many said we couldn’t do it. A beautiful, powerful and somber Memorial and Museum sits in the heart of our city is a reminder as we look back and think forward. It was built as a place of collective memory to preserve the story of how innocence was taken but together, we chose to rebuild, move forward and always remember.
All of this is symbolic of a race— running a Marathon. Part of it is just making the decision to run, then to push through your training and finally the reward of seeing what you have trained for as you take to the course and Run OKC! When you are running this race, you run to remember and you honor all 168 of those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever by taking part in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon.
You will see their names and faces along the racecourse, the medal will likely be placed around your neck by a key stakeholder in this story. You are forever a part of our story because of your willingness to run the race. This Marathon helps keep their memories alive and told to a new generation that didn’t live this story but knows it only as history. As we gather at the Memorial the first weekend of October to kick off this race, know that you are helping us keep this story relevant and helping us teach the senselessness of violence as a way to impact change. Your presence allows us to be able to teach unity and by demonstrate by working together to find common ground on this sacred ground.
By running this race, you stand against acts of violence and in honor of those who no longer are able to stand with us.
This year our marathon shirts say #1OKC, a nod to our mayor’s message of having one city, united and working together through every obstacle. So, come check out Oklahoma City. Don’t miss a tour of the Memorial and Museum while you are here and then visit so many other wonderful cultural institutions, restaurants and meet some of the best people. You will see something firsthand that we call the #OklahomaStandard —ordinary people who show up to serve, rise up to honor and step up to be kind.
Click here to see the full 2021 race schedule, Marathon Expo details, Covid-19 Policy and more.