Baltimore Lawyer Runs in DC, But Not for Public Office
The brisk western wind and unobstructed sun stung Kevin Arthur as he gazed
over the skyline of our nation's capital from his vantage at Arlington National
Cemetery, preparing to join roughly 31,000 other participants in his most-recent
challenge: the 31st Annual Marine Corps Marathon, a 26.2-mile run through Washington,
D.C., held on October 29, 2006.
"Running a marathon….it's a long way," notes Arthur, a 48-year-old
business litigator with the Baltimore firm of Kramon & Graham, P.A. "It's the
only thing I have not been able to master."
There is some
sense in which
you want to feel
like you are doing
And Arthur has had practice. Competing with his firm's relay team in the
2003 Baltimore Marathon, Arthur completed his portion of the run and ventured
to the finish line, where he witnessed an inspiring scene that instilled a
new passion in his life.
"I recommend to anybody to go watch the end of any marathon," said Arthur. "To
see the kind of…exertion and sacrifice that people are going through – it's
really amazing. When you start seeing the people who are coming across [the
finish line] after three hours, they look like ordinary people. They are just
dedicated runners. I saw friends holding hands as they ran to the finish together.
I saw a man stop to take his baby from his wife's arms and then run across
the line with his child. It was moving, and I decided I wanted to [race]."
From there, Arthur trained and signed up for the 2004 New York City Marathon.
But midway through his Manhattan run, walking intermittently, in severe pain
"pulverized," Arthur came to understand the reason for the depleted appearances
of those crossing the finish line. "I couldn't believe I had gotten myself
into this," he admits.
It was at that moment, however, with runners rushing past him, that a particular
one grabbed Arthur's attention, instantaneously changing his perspective while
reigniting his passion for racing.
"I saw this guy go by me," Arthur explains. "He had an artificial leg [a
J-shaped apparatus that connected to his knee] and I said to myself, ‘What
am I complaining about?'"
Following the race, Arthur refocused himself on his racing endeavor, training
on the North Central Railroad Trail in order to prepare for the Marine Corp
Marathon. He also sought advice from experienced runners, from whom he learned
to "walk through the water stops" as to avoid cramping and running the race
in two halves (the first 20 miles and the last six), a style called "negative
His new approach also manifested itself in the form of racing for a cause.
Remembering the runner from New York, Arthur turned to an associate's wife
who works as an occupational therapist for the Walter Reed Army Medical Center
(WRAMC), a rehabilitation clinic for soldiers and war victims. Common treatments
at the Center involve amputees, burn victims, disfigurement, blindness, deafness
and traumatic psychological injuries. In an effort to support these people
who have made a serious sacrifice, Arthur raised $5,000 for the Walter Reed
Society, an organization that benefits the WRAMC, through his participation
in the Marine Corps Marathon…
At 8:35 a.m., immediately after beginning the race, Arthur met his first
obstacle: a 175-foot climb above sea level within the first two miles; the
elevation then leveled down to 75 feet as he made his way over the Key Bridge
and into Georgetown. From there, the course trekked up and back down snake-like
Rock Creek Parkway, continued along the eastern shoreline of the Potomac River,
past the Kennedy Center and to the Lincoln Memorial. Arthur then paced himself
east on Constitution Avenue, passing the White House and the Washington Monument,
looped in front of Capitol Hill and ran back down the National Mall, headed
west on Jefferson Drive, passing the Smithsonian.
Six miles later, Arthur came to mile-marker 20, the end of the first "half" of
the marathon, yet had no time to be complacent as he knew the challenging road
that lay ahead.
"The last [half], I concentrated on not stopping," Arthur admits. "[I was]
trying to tell my muscles to keep going."
His muscles winced as nature's erratic temper tested Arthur's strength and
determination in the opening stage of the final leg. When he crossed back into
Virginia on the 14th Street Bridge, the brisk western wind had become a burly
force that left him
"completely exposed" to the elements in the middle of the Potomac.
Arthur persevered across the bridge and continued his course. At the 26-mile
marker he saw the finish line, but had to endure a steep uphill climb over
the last twentieth of a mile to the Iwo Jima Memorial. Completing his run in
3 hours and 36 minutes, Arthur finished six minutes over his desired time,
but – standing next to the 32-foot-tall monument dedicated to symbolize "the
courage, the spirit and the greatness of the American people," physically and
emotionally drained – he was not disheartened.
"When you are doing something like a marathon, [it] requires, for most ordinary
people, a very high level of commitment," Arthur notes. "There is some sense
in which you want to feel like you are doing something bigger than yourself."