“Let's do it,” they said.
Not finishing Boston had been tough on them.
Running together two weeks ago, Cari and Rick were less than a mile from the finish line in Boston when they realized something was going on.
“You could kind of tell by the police officers along the route,” Cari said. “Everything kind of changed. They became much more intense looking. Everyone was listening to their radios.”
Cari and Rick went another quarter mile or so, and suddenly, they came to a stop. All of the runners in front of them had stopped and no one could go any further. Eventually, runners and spectators started coming back toward them, saying there had been an explosion at the finish line.
Cari and Rick had run 25.9 miles but ended up walking off the course. They spent the next few hours locating friends and finding their way back to their hotel where they watched TV coverage of the finish line terror.
Reminders of that day were everywhere Sunday. Many runners wore red socks in honor of Boston. Others wore Boston garb. Red Sox caps. Celtics T-shirts.
Any time that Cari and Rick saw those tributes, they thought of Boston. Not of the bad but of the good. They thought of the resiliency that has been shown since the bombing.
Then again, that's why they came to run the Memorial Marathon.
“It's keeping the spirit alive, the American spirit,” Cari said. “Terrorists can do what they want to do. We're still going to be Americans. We're still gonna run and be free.”
Sunday, they did just that. After both had finished — Cari in 3:49:44, Rick in 3:56:48 — they posed with their daughter for a picture. Their finisher medals hung around their necks, the shiny parts reflecting the Oklahoma sunshine.
“Today,” Rick said, “just couldn't be better.”
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.