PICTOU — Few people can claim to have celebrated 25 years of marriage by running their 25th marathon together.
Christina and Bruce G. Murray have completed such an achievement. They did it recently by running a marathon in Greece.
“The Athens Marathon was our 25th marathon together, and our 25th wedding anniversary,” Bruce said. “It has been on our bucket list for a long time so we thought this was a great opportunity to celebrate both at the same time. Our first date was a 10K race, and our honeymoon was the Honolulu Marathon, so we’ve been at it a long time.”
Running the marathon in Greece was special for the Murrays and for everyone who participated.
“The Athens Marathon follows the route of the marathon from the first modern Olympics, which is a re-creation of the historic route of the Athenian warrior Phedipedies, who ran the 26 mile route after the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC to the steps of the Acropolis where he proclaimed, “We are victorious!”, and then promptly died,” Bruce said. “It was the original route from the town of Marathon to the 1896 Olympic Stadium in Athens.”
The Murrays usually run marathons in under four hours, but Christina had a strained calf that made her run especially challenging. She needed about five hours and 15 minutes to complete it.
“I strained the calf about a week before the marathon,” she said. “It really hurt — this sharp pain shooting up from my Achilles to my calf.”
They generally don’t run together but wanted to because of their anniversary. At about four kilometres, Christina said she wasn’t sure she could continue
“I said to him, ‘Just go ahead — I’ll be able to meet you at the end.’”
She said she counted on running from one aid station to the next one and assess if she could continue.
“I thought I could make it to the next one,” she said. “I made it halfway and felt I could finish it, but it was painful. It was a really hard marathon — all uphill. I was really proud of myself when I finished.”
People bumping into her aggrevated the injury and compromised her effort to finish the course.
Bruce completed half the marathon and rejoined the marathon group they were with. He let one of them know Christina may have abandoned the run, but a cell phone app showed she was only a kilometre behind Bruce.
After he finished the marathon and received his medal, he started shooting video while hoping Christina would arrive, but she already had.
“She tapped me on the shoulder with her medal around her,” he said.
This is not the only time the Murrays have run a marathon on their wedding anniversary. They celebrated 20 years married while running the Chicago Marathon.
Bruce G. Murray and Christina Murray show the medals they received form completing the 2017 Athens Marathon on November 12 in Greece while celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. (Submitted photo)