If you missed the Cannonball Marathon in Greensboro, then you missed a super fun, well-organized, family friendly, pet friendly all around good time. The weather was marvelous. There was live music. Runners and spectators were everywhere. And yes there was even beer.

Of all the people and all of the parts, I have to admit that I was mostly struck by the emotions at the Start/ Finish line.

As medical providers, our tent was strategically located at the best spot in the house, right where runners take off and right where runners return. And although the action was on the course, the important moments all happened right there.

Those slow minutes before the countdown, before the mass start and moving feet hit the pavement, this was my favorite – the faces of the runners full of focus and determination. I can still feel that anxious energy like a water balloon on a hose ready to explode. All of the countless hours of sacrifice and hard work just to be there, accumulating in this one major effort. And there was the crowd full of proud family and supportive friends. I could feel it. I loved it!

And the runners were off…the next few hours marked even more emotions at the line. It didn’t matter if this was a first 5K or 100th marathon, everyone had something special invested in the day. Some of the best moments that I was fortunate to witness were the first time runners completing their first three point two mile events, ever. There were tears of joy and accomplishment, hugs from waiting loved ones. Faces were now filled with relief, the weight of a million stresses gone, crossing that line pouring sweat and emotion. Thrill. Determination. Satisfaction. Then there were those that missed their goals. Some faces of pain and sadness. I could pick out the seasoned runners, “not my first jog in the park” crowd, crossing the line with content and gratification, seeking out that post run beer. Everyone was wearing the Cannonball finisher medal with pride. Many runners simply broke into tears, too many emotions, all at once, like one life’s defining moments.

It was pretty awesome!

We took care of some physical ailments, and thankfully there were no major events. From a medical standpoint, this could be defined a success. The real success turned out to be community, the organization, the congregation of everyone involved to make it what it was. Cheers to all of the Cannonballers and thanks for making it such great event!

Brian Opitz, Medical Director

Triad Urgent Care

Junction 311 Endurance Sports