Friends in Chau and Michael Smith's Kansas City running circle asked the couple why they are running the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon.
The Smiths chose the Memorial Marathon for many reasons, but one of them is that they hope the strength and resiliency of Oklahoma will help them heal.
“They've been through a terrible situation,” Michael Smith said of the Murrah Building Bombing in 1995. “The Boston thing was terrible but it doesn't even compare to what Oklahoma City has been through.”
After the Boston bombings, the Memorial Marathon extended an offer to those runners unable to complete the Boston Marathon to run in Oklahoma City for free.
It's only been a week and a half since Michael Smith stood a block away from the Boston Marathon finish line on Boylston Street, watching police officers attend to the wounded and wondering if his wife could possibly have run faster than he calculated.
Thankfully, Chau Smith was stopped .7 miles from the finish line.
“I heard all the fire trucks and police cars and ambulances head that way,” Chau Smith said about her experience after she was told by police that the race was closed. “It finally hit me hard. I was born and raised in Vietnam, and I'd gone through the war. To know what was going on, it was just like a war was going on. I started to cry, and I was shaking.”
“I think it's a good thing for Chau to go through,” Michael Smith said of the Oklahoma City marathon. “Part of her healing, I think might be to see some other people who have been through trauma and how they've gotten through it.”
Michael and Chau already started to heal last weekend. Chau Smith was invited to finish the last .7 of her marathon at a local race near their Oak Grove, Mo. home. Michael was there to support her, but he admitted he was a bit uneasy.
“It just made me nervous,” he said. “I was a lot more aware of my surroundings. I think for a while we both will be.”
They'll run the Oklahoma City marathon together, just like they have for 30 other marathons. In recent years, though, Chau became quicker than Michael.
“She'll be there an hour before I will,” Michael Smith said of his wife at the finish line in Oklahoma City.
But they've talked about her not waiting for him at the finish line.
“Hopefully, I'm assuming that everything's going to go smoothly there and there won't be any sort of thing like what happened at Boston,” Michael said. “That will just be another chance for us to put it behind us, another successful race with nothing out of the ordinary happening.
“We're really looking forward to the marathon. The people we've talked to already have been really nice. We can hardly wait.”