I snapped this photo with my phone near the very end of the 13.1-mile Thunder Road Half Marathon course this past Saturday morning. If it doesn’t strike you as special, take a closer look. The man in the blue shirt is running with a cane. He’s blind.
My friend Amy pointed this fellow out to me early on in the race, when the throng of runners still tightly packed the streets of uptown Charlotte. Seconds later, I lost him in the crowd.
Three thousand, two hundred thirty-one runners completed the 2010 Thunder Road Half Marathon, but for some reason, I crossed paths with the blind runner not once, but twice on our shared journey to the finish line. I can’t say the same about any other runner with any degree of certainty. I’m not the most superstitious person in the world. But I believe in divine intervention.
I believe I could have gone the full 26.2 Saturday based on energy alone. My heart and my lungs still felt good at mile 13. But by then, my feet and ankles had already been screaming for mercy for seven whole miles. Many times, my head told me to pull out. Injuries on top of injuries – and the accompanying pain – can do that. I forged on because I was running for Taylor. When I saw the blind man under the bridge, I knew she was right there with me. Shortly afterward, the finish line came into view. Taylor helped me find my wings, and I sprinted the rest of the way.