Our house on Fairfield is magically located in the center of an amazing neighborhood which includes the Borgess Health and Fitness Center. We are also positioned so that every single participant in the Kalamazoo Marathon runs directly by our front door.
Close your eyes and try to imagine what it would be like for over 8,500 people to go running by your front yard on the first Sunday in May. It is a fairly unbelievable sight.
Around four days before the event begins the coordinators start setting up tents and awnings in the large field in front of the Nazareth College complex right beside the Borgess Health and Fitness Center.
The day of the event the cones and barrels are set out blocking off sections of major roads and marking roadways so runners understand how to traverse the course. As our street is the final leg of the trail, we have cones for a full mile, all the way down Fairfield.
The morning of the race, at around 7:00 a.m. Mr. MVP and I hang my signs. This year my Christopher Walken sign was the most popular. There were runners who stopped mid-race just to take a picture of the darn thing.
Team VP usually walks over to the starting line to take photographs and video. Mr. MVP took all the photos and video this year, while I did the editing. There are massive crowds at the starting line at 7:30 a.m., so we just wander around and take photos. We make a super media team!
This is a pace setter and his partner. These dedicated runners run with flags noting a time and then they run a consistent pace associated with that time and race. For instance, the man above will be running the half marathon or 13.1 miles at a pace of two hours and thirty minutes.
We ran into this young woman and she was just so jazzed about her race, we had to snap her photo.
Running in costumes is a relatively common trend. This sparkly running outfit made my Sunday morning shine.
People also run with purpose, which is what was on this runner’s mind. Her shirt says, I love my 2 countries.
The Kalamazoo Marathon is run -forgive the pun- by some pretty dedicated people, but there are lots of volunteers. Runners need fuel at the finish line, which also happens to be the starting line, so these incredibly happy beverage handlers were on the job.
Every year the same man announces all the races and I am amazed his voice lasts all day long. He starts talking at around 7:00 a.m. and does not stop until around 1:30 in the afternoon. He talks non-stop and it is impressive.
As there are major road closures and a massive number of people in an area where there are usually not many crowds, the police presence is large. This motorcycle officer was in charge of leading the full marathon and escorting the winner to the finish line. I love his boots!
Our video shows the start of the half marathon and how the runners round the bend out of Nazareth College onto Gull Road and then go down into Kalamazoo.
After the excitement of all the starting lines is over Mr. MVP and I head home to wait for the first runners to pass by our house. This only takes about fifteen minutes.
We got distracted on the stone wall outside of Nazareth taking pictures, so we missed the first runners.
There were thousands more after the ones we missed, however. My sign way in the back says, High Five For Morale! My parents join us for cheering and watching. We have lunch and then watch some more.
Usually we watch the runners until we see our friend Ron. Hi Ron! He runs the full marathon – 26 miles – and then we go back over to Nazareth to say hello to others who have finished the race. The entire event ends in the afternoon, but I’m sure the fifth annual Kalamazoo Marathon has already started being planned.