April 17th, 2012
12:07 AM ET

Letters to the President #1183: 'I'm running too!'

Reporter's Note: President Obama gets a letter from me every day.

Dear Mr. President,

Seems like an awful lot of news is cranking for a Monday; hearings on government spending, crime stories, new polls, debates about how many hours we work, and possibly a little Secret Service cavorting with prostitutes thrown in for good measure! (Note: the first word is “secret”... they might want to work on that part.)

There is going to be so much to talk about this week, but I have to delay it all on this Monday for two reasons. First, to talk about the Boston Marathon. I have a niece and nephew running today, along with one of my best and oldest friends (who has been in that race every year for at least 25 years) and I just can’t imagine how bad the heat has been. I saw the times for the winners and they are, by comparison to past years, so slow I just know the temperatures are eating everyone alive. Anyway, I am wishing them all the best, because 26.2 miles is a long way to go even on a cool day.

Second, I wanted to tell you about my own race. Saturday, as I previously mentioned to you, I arose about 4 a.m. to drive over to Bull Run in Virginia for the annual Bull Run Run. I’d never taken part before, and despite having run one ultra marathon five months ago (the 55 mile Stone Mill race in Maryland) I honestly had no idea what I was getting into. Driving up in the dark, down a winding, remote country road, I would have thought myself lost if not for GPS. But eventually I reached a buzz of activity in the woods: folks with flashlights telling me where to park, race officials checking us in and handing out numbers... At 6:30, we took off– 327 runners with 50 miles of woods, rocks, and hills ahead of us.

The first 16 miles or so were fairly uneventful. Pretty much creekside flats with a nice broad trail and the odd scattering of bluebells for which the race is renowned. Then it got nasty. I won’t say the race website is deceptive– but, well, it conveniently fails to mention that the final 34 miles will involve enough hills to choke a mountain goat. Seriously. By 30 miles my legs were throbbing; by 40 they were screaming bloody murder. Still, the aid stations were first rate, the race volunteers unfailingly cheerful and encouraging, and it was all enough to carry me to the finish line after about 12 hours of running and, admittedly, some walking.

Anyway, it was a wonderful day in the woods. Wish you’d been there, and considering how things went with your security folks, maybe you do too. Ha! Hope all is well.


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