Sunday, October 31, 2010

Race Day

As we assembled at the starting line this morning the sun was rising over the Penteli mountains.  The start went off without a problem and I was able to maintain my targeted pace of about a 10 minute mile for the first 14 miles.   But as we began the ascent up the mountains my time began to slow.  The 12 mile up hill climb  became oppressively steep and it became a mental and physical challenge just to continue moving forward.  I saw scores of runners just quit...unable to move forward they gave up and sat down at the curb side waiting for a shuttle.   As I slowly moved up the mountain one step at a time,  I began to reach inside of myself to try to find some strength to continue.

I thought of the men and women of the great Baltimore Police Department and the sacrifices they make every day.  And the too many of them, all great officers, that are no longer with us.

I thought of my young children Evan, Reilly, Jack and Sophie.  I hoped that my experience  may some day teach them a little about life and encourage them to pursue their own goals.

And in the end when I was completely exhausted,  I thought of my wife Vayia.   Knowing that she was waiting for me at the finish line I began to run to her...the same woman I have run to since I was 18 years old.  As I rounded the last bend I saw her and was overcome with emotion.

I crossed the finish line in about 5:15 (unofficial time).  Maybe a little slower then I had hoped but the devastating nature of the course reminded me that the true goal of any marathon is to overcome all challenges and finish.  In the words of Pheidippides, the Greek messenger that ran the same route 2,500 years ago and died at the finish after declaring the Persian defeat:  Victory!


  1. Congratulations Col. Skinner! What a great post. I felt like I was right there with you. I can't wait to see the photos and hear all about it!

  2. Congrats, Colonel! I knew that you could do it! Your story just made me want to cry. I told you that you were a cool dude. See you when you get back.

  3. you're a great example & an inspiration! kudos