Rick Uribe didn’t expect to perform especially well in last year’s Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon.
An emergency appendectomy on Christmas Eve 2012 put Uribe behind his normal training schedule, so two weeks before the event last April, he’d already accepted that he wouldn’t log his best time in Oklahoma City.
But on Monday, April 15, 2013, while vacationing with his family on South Padre Island, Texas, Uribe learned of the Boston Marathon bombing.
“I determined then that I would make every attempt to qualify for Boston,” Uribe said. “It is the oldest continuous marathon, and we lost something that day.
“I wanted to be part of taking it back.”
Needing to finish the Oklahoma City marathon in 3:25 to qualify, Uribe crossed the finish line with eight minutes to spare. He will run the Boston Marathon on Monday, then he’ll run in Oklahoma City six days later.
The Whitehouse, Texas, native is one of 44 people to finish every Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon since the first in 2001. His initial, apathetic response to the Alfred P. Murrah Building bombing on April 19, 1995, isn’t something Uribe is proud of, but he’s channeled those feelings of shame into a very personal, solemn reminder to never take things for granted.
Uribe was managing some properties in Garrison, Texas, the morning of the Oklahoma City bombing, and a co-worker came in to tell him about the attack.
“I don’t think I even flinched,” Uribe said. “I didn’t respond, or push back in my chair and look at the TV and see what happened or anything.”
Uribe imagined the Oklahoma City attack was relatively minor like the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and went back to work without giving it a second thought.
“Mundane, routine, normal everyday stuff that bores you to tears and sucks the life out of you, and you take it for granted because the victims of the federal building bombing will never have those mundane and normal moments again,” Uribe said. “They were robbed of them.
“Later, to my dismay and chagrin and shame, I discovered just how awful and atrocious the event was. I was just very ashamed at my underreaction that individuals had lost their lives and a community had been disturbed.”