Oklahoma City will host the 11th Annual Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon on May 1. The event is not only a tribute to the victims, family members and survivors of the bombing, but a way for many to give back to the community.
“The Oklahoma City bombing is one of those events in recent history that people can remember exactly what they were doing when it happened,” one runner said. “I felt an urge to help, but was young and had little opportunity. When I learned of the Memorial Marathon, I was given a second chance.” Indeed, the Memorial Marathon is a race that is not just about running. It is a race to show that individuals—united by a common purpose—can make a difference.
This is the spirit in which the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon was conceptualized by Thomas Hill and Chet Collier, two Oklahoma businessmen who, while on a morning run, created the outline for this inspiring event.
A group of 24 volunteer chairmen lead a volunteer corps of more than 6,000 to carry out the full weekend of events. From its inaugural race in 2001 with just shy of 5,000 participants, the 2010 event hosted 22,000 runners and walkers from 49 states and six foreign countries.
The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon is a Boston qualifying USATF sanctioned event on a certified (OK-08019-DG) 26.2 mile single loop course. Participants can register online at www.okcmarathon.com until noon on Monday, April 25.
But the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum does far more for the community than host a race. Earlier this year, more than 2,000 visitors came to the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum on North Harvey Avenue for a special occasion. They gathered not for a somber reflection of the bombing that devastated the city on April 19, 1995, but to celebrate the Museum’s 10th birthday and usher in a year of programming that reflects how much the institution has evolved into a core member of the community.
“It was an extremely uplifting event,” said Executive Director Kari Watkins. “In addition to the families and friends we’ve grown with over the years, we were joined by plenty who were visiting for the first time. Many said said they always felt reluctant to stop by because they assumed it would be a depressing experience. In fact, they left that day with quite the opposite reaction—one of optimism and hope.”
The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum is located at 620 North Harvey Avenue. The Memorial is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Museum hours of operation are Monday through Saturday from 9:00AM to 6:00PM and Sunday from noon to 6:00PM. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, members of the military and students ages 6-17. Children ages 5 and under are free. Admission will be free on April 19, 2011, in honor of the 16th anniversary of the bombing.