Thursday, August 26, 2010

We Met an American President . . . . and we have the pictures to prove it

Our 'Run for the Fallen' this weekend was quite an experience. We both ran really well, and although we were hoping to run more, we got in about 26.5 miles (don't think anyone was able to run the whole 65 km). The run started in Ogunquit, ME and finished in Portland, ME. Due to the event's logistics and strict schedule, we were unable to run more than that. We ran as much as we possibly could at all times until the trolley picked us up and moved us along to maintain the event schedule. By no means were we running slow, but since most people were running much shorter distances (5km-10km or so), naturally they would be running faster. 

It was a truly emotional event, with each kilometer commemorating one of Maine's fallen soldiers. Each kilometer was marked with a poster of a particular fallen soldier, and their families would stand by cheering and greeting the runners. It truly was quite a sight and feeling to run by these families who had suffered such great losses.

After the run, we were driven by trolley to Cape Elizabeth, where we had a nice lobster bake and made some new friends (who Miss Bethany excitedly chatted about Ironmans with). We were busy eating and chatting when the race director made an announcement that a special guest had arrived to greet all the families and all the runners. . . . 

George W. Bush and his wife, Laura! They were incredibly personable, down-to-earth, and friendly. They stayed for hours, until every person had a chance to shake hands and take a picture with them.

 
What was really funny is how he shook Ryan's hand. First, we started out with a normal handshake, and then went into the full arm-wrestle-type handshake, as if we were old friends (see above.)

The first thing he did was comment on our Zensah sleeves, and then he asked if we were married and when we said 'not yet,' he asked if there was anything he could do to speed the process along. :-)

Pre-race display in Ogunquit's Veterans Square.

Leaving Ogunquit (Ryan in green, Miss Bethany too short to be seen).

One of the markers for one of the heroes along the way.

This cute little dude was awesome. When we ran past him, he jumped in and ran a bit with us, and then once he was getting out of shouting distance from his family, he stopped, and yelled to us 'GO GO GO GO GO GO!' 

Another family of a fallen hero.

Some veterans/supporters along the course.

Getting ready to head over the Casco Bay Bridge for the last 4 km (notice Ryan changed his shirt, Miss Bethany in red, white and blue). 

Coming into Portland.

Monument Square in Portland.

Our trolley, aptly named Holly. 

Cape Elizabeth, where we had our lobster bake. If you've run Beach to Beacon, this sight may be familiar.

Post-run lobster bake.

Post-run lobstah (and un-clean hot dog :-), hey I needed to replenish the calories I burned)

All smiles after 26.5 miles and some lobstah :-)

It was a GREAT weekend. Miss Bethany always wanted to just catch a glimpse of an American president, nevermind shake hands, talk and get her picture taken with one! 

We have some other pics from the rest of our Maine mini-vacation that we'll post later.

18 comments:

Lauren said...

Hi Bethany! Glad to see that you are still kickin' butt and running as much (and more!) as always :) My schooling has settled down a bit so I've started running a lot more and am hoping to run a fall marathon (if clinicals aren't too crazy).

Keep in touch! Love hearing about your races and adventures :)

-Lauren

J said...

Wow sounds like a truly amazing race/event! That is so awesome you got the meet a president and his wife!!

TRI-james said...

Lobster and hot dogs - dang.

Mike Russell said...

Once in a lifetime experience. I got to meet President Ford about 20 years ago and it was one of the coolest things ever. W. sure is personable...

misszippy said...

What an amazing experience! That is just too cool. I was never a W. fan, but it would still be awesome to meet a Pres. up close and personal like that. He was also a fit president, who I'm sure could appreciate your effort out there. What a memory you'll have forever!

Johann said...

Wow, this is truly amazing! I would be very emotional when I see those families. A picture with Bush…fantastic!

Maxi Fortend said...

Wow! I got tears in my eyes from your pics! (LOL, not from the president..., but that is super cool that he came!) Thanks so much for sharing!

teacherwoman said...

What an amazing event to participate in! And to meet Mr. and Mrs. George W. Bush! Wonderful!

Julie said...

Hi Guys,
This was such a fun race report full of great pictures! How wonderful to run over twenty-six miles in tribute to our fallen soldiers. It must have been so emotional and inspiring. I have always wanted to travel to Maine. Congrats to the both of you:) Enjoy your weekend!

Erin G said...

What a great race report. I don't know how you weren't sobbing though the entire race!!

And Cool that you got to meet W. I know a lot of people didn't agree with his policies, but its nice to see him out and being supportive!

Marlene said...

WOW, what a cool experience!!! Sounds like it was pretty neat meeting GWB!

Conrats to you both on the marathonPLUS!

Emily said...

This event looks amazing AND you got to meet a President! How fun, I would love it if that happened at a race I was doing! And Bethany talking about Ironmans? Did I miss something in a previous post?!

Emily said...

I'm doing IMLP 2011! You can cheer me on! (I'll need it) It will be super fun to see you guys again (though I'd imagine I'll see you in at least Boston before then.) Yay!

Jen said...

What a great experience. I can't think of anything more motivating than seeing the families and markers of those who have given their lives for our freedom. Awesome race and that's so cool that the President and his wife stuck around for everyone. Great job!

aron said...

sounds like an incredible experience :) well done you two!

Amanda said...

That looks like a truly special event. Very proud of you for putting in that many miles and supporting a great cause.

Very cool that you got to meet President Bush and his wife Laura. They always seemed like they'd be down to earth. Glad to hear they were!

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

wow what an amazing race! i remember being very inspired when I ran Oklahoma city as they talked about how much it meant

runningwithsass.com said...

OMG can I just tell you how jealous I am? I am totally in love with my teddy bar George W! I miss him. He is so awesome and I wish he was my grandpa lol! what a cool memory to have and great pics to proove it!