OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – It was an Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon unlike any other before it.
Thousands of runners did not gather downtown in April for this year’s Memorial Marathon.
Instead, the 2020 Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon was held virtually, and the two-week event wrapped up on Sunday.
In consideration of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Memorial Marathon organizers opted to hold a virtual marathon in which participants ran at their own chosen location and time between Sunday, Oct. 4 and Sunday, Oct. 18.
Participants in this year’s marathon were not discouraged by the change. Nearly 14,000 people registered to take part.
For Rebekah Williams, participating in this year’s marathon was the continuation of an important tradition.
“This is my eighth year consecutively to do the half-marathon, and it is very, very important to me,” Williams said.
In addition to being virtual, this year’s marathon included another first – a cycling option.
“It’s my mother’s first time [to participate]; she did it on the bike,” said Matt Bishop, a six-time Memorial Marathon participant. “It was just really cool to have that option for somebody like her.”
Event organizers wrapped up the Virtual Memorial Marathon by giving away 250 Survivor Tree seedlings. The Survivor Tree is a 100-year-old American elm that survived the terrorist truck bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995.
The tree stands majestically at the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum.
“We’re so appreciative of the community, how they’ve supported us, how they’ve stuck in there with us. It’s just kind of our gift, if you want, to take a Survivor Tree seedling with you,” said Kari Watkins, Executive Director of the Memorial Marathon. “We normally pass those out in April, so it’s great to have a line of people waiting to take that tree and plant it and carry it on to the next generation.”
Watch the above video for a full look at the conclusion of this year’s Run to Remember.