OKC Memorial Marathon: Neighborhoods along route are supportive
People along race route encourage runners, offer water and music.
In the first few years of the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, Steve Cole had a water stop in front of his house on the corner of 40th and Shartel in Crown Heights.
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“It was a mess to pick up all the cups, though,” Cole said.
So Cole and other neighborhood residents decided to do something a little more fun to encourage the runners that came through the neighborhood just shy of the seven-mile mark through the course.
Cole, who was downtown on the day of the Oklahoma City bombing, started off the yellow — a color of remembrance for the bombing — and the name Gorilla Hill.
Sunday morning, Cole and more than 20 others dressed up in banana costumes to encourage the runners while a giant inflatable gorilla towered over them in Cole's yard.
The group lines the street with yellow balloons with the Gorilla Hill logo, and a sign stretches across the street above the runners.
He's even taken it to the point of painting his house yellow.
“It's grown every year, and we'd love to have a lot more people out here with us,” Cole said. “We have so much fun with it. We're having a ball. It's the greatest event in the city.”
Neighborhood resident Lane Wheeler was a little different from the rest of the group Sunday morning.
Instead of wearing the banana costume, Wheeler wore a Tigger suit he's had since his daughter — now 13 — was a toddler.
Less than a mile back on the course, a gathering on the corner of Walker gives runners a different kind of encouragement.
Music blares — including the theme song from Rocky — as runners make the turn and runners are offered a different kind of beverage. Competitors are offered beer or shots of liquor.
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