Eric Cayot enjoys running in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon so much that he plans to do it twice.
Cayot, a 33-year-old real estate manager for a billboard company in Oklahoma City, plans to run 26 miles in the hours before the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon begins Sunday morning, and then immediately afterward run the marathon.
He plans to start his first 26-mile trek at Lake Hefner at 11 p.m. Saturday and then end that run at the finish line of the Memorial Marathon course. He then plans to jog or walk over to the starting line to make the 4:30 a.m. early start of the marathon.
“I've ran this race several times and I thought, ‘Why not run it twice?'” Cayot said. “I would enjoy it twice as much, right?”
Cayot has competed in ultramarathons before, races of more than 26 miles. The most common distances of ultramarathons are 50 miles, 50 kilometers, 100 miles or 100 kilometers, he said.
“I have primarily done just 50ks or 50-milers,” the Edmond resident said. “You would be amazed at some people. They will just run for days in a row.”
Cayot, who runs a half-marathon every weekend to train, said he likes running at night.
“I know that probably doesn't make much sense, but I really enjoy running at night. It's so peaceful,” he said. “Even running in the city at night it's so serene and quiet.”
He considered running the Memorial Marathon course twice, but decided against running on some of those city streets along the course in the middle of the night.
For his first marathon, Cayot plans to run 16 miles around Lake Hefner then the final 10 miles toward the finish line of the Memorial Marathon.
Cayot said his motivation is simply to raise awareness for the Memorial Marathon. Of all the races he has entered, the Memorial Marathon is the one that means the most to Cayot. It's a sentiment shared by many Memorial Marathon participants.
“There is not a race around that compares to it, primarily because of the reason behind it,” Cayot said. “I find myself thinking about it during training runs and it sometimes just gets the better of me. The Memorial Marathon is easily the most emotional run because there is so much meaning behind it.
“Running in itself is emotional for me and there is absolutely no feeling like when you finish the Memorial Marathon. I bet there are more tears shed at that finish line than anywhere else in Oklahoma City at any time of the year.”
Cayot was a high school student in Okeene when 168 people were killed in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building.
“I remember the TV coming on at the time and everybody huddled up around it, just like they did everywhere else around the country,” Cayot said. “We couldn't believe what we saw. It's great to have the marathon so nobody forgets.”
Cayot invites other runners to join him for the double-marathon if they want.
“I would love to have some company,” he said. “I think it is going to be a pretty enjoyable time, if the weather cooperates.”