every year i say that st jude memphis marathon weekend is my favorite weekend in memphis, but this year took the cake. not only did i get to enjoy the benefit of having a downtown hotel room for the weekend, but best of all i got to share the experience with my mother.
for those who don’t know, in november 2020 my mother fell and broke her femur. she had a weeklong hospital stay and a 10-day rehab hospital stay followed by 5 months of intense physical therapy. she was determined to regain her mobility, and in may of this year she returned to work full-time.
when i was registering for this year’s marathon weekend events, i made an off-the-cuff remark about how fun it would be if we walked the 5k together. being my mother, she very enthusiastically agreed, especially once i noted that this year’s race fell on the 1-year anniversary since she came home from the rehab hospital. it felt like a good circle to close.
since we were walking together, i increased my fundraising commitment to the gold level so that we could get a downtown hotel stay. we got a room at the hilton garden inn, one block from the friday night pasta party, two blocks from our start line saturday morning, and right next to the finish line. it was my first time staying downtown for race weekend, and now i’ve been spoiled and will be a gold hero for the years to come.
friday night we went to the pasta party at the peabody and turned in early, and saturday morning we met chrystal to walk to get started on our walk. it was overcast and a little humid, but the rain held off for our us. the 5k stays in downtown memphis and tends to have a good number of supporters, and my mother got such a kick out of waving to people and clapping and cheering — so much so that i had to tell her to slow down multiple times.
just past mile 1 we entered the st jude campus which is always very meaningful. there weren’t the patients and families outside like in years past, but walking in those gates always packs a punch and gives you an adrenaline boost. while we walked through campus we talked about my father’s years working there and how my mother would take him dinner and how much it has changed since then.
the other big highlight was seeing friends at the end of the race. lauren and jen made signs for us and met us at the top of danny thomas as we turned onto union, and just after the finish line we saw dillard and megan cheering us on before beginning their run. it was such fun seeing them, and i know it gave my mother that final boost to finish the walk.
and finish it she did. she was such a champ the whole way, laughing and talking and waving and cheering and joking, and she was so proud and excited to put on her medal at the end. being able to share that with her is a memory i will hold on to for the rest of my life.
marathon weekend is also a big friends reunion weekend, which i always look forward to. after naps for some and showers for others we all convened at slider inn downtown to eat and drink and catch up and generally enjoy each other’s company. people came and went as their schedules allowed, and those few hours filled my friendship cup so much.
between sharing the weekend with my mother and all the friends reunions that we managed, 2021 was definitely my best marathon weekend experience to date.
and prepare yourselves, because mama swami is already excited for marathon weekend 2022!