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OKC Memorial Marathon: Neighborhoods along route are supportive

People along race route encourage runners, offer water and music.
by Ryan Aber Modified: April 29, 2012 at 5:41 pm •  Published: April 29, 2012

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.

“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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by Ryan Aber
OU Athletics Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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