Michelle Sieg

Why Des Moines?

By - Oct 15th, 2009 10:05 pm

With the IMT Des Moines Half Marathon just a few days away, a lot of my friends are asking: “Why Des Moines?” And I have to admit, it’s probably a pretty obscure choice for most people. I mean if I’m going to run in the Midwest, why not Minneapolis, Chicago or the most logical choice, Milwaukee?

The answer is a combination of things. Yes, it’s all part of the bigger plan to run a total of 13 half marathons, each in different cities. But let’s face it, Des Moines is not really in the same vein as the other cities I’ve run so far, namely Miami and Las Vegas.

runnersPIC2Honestly, I chose Des Moines on somewhat of a whim. However, once I started to think about it, that location made perfect sense. It’s inexpensive to get there. I have people to stay with, and I’ll get to see some childhood friends who are coming down to help celebrate after the race. All in all, I’m guessing I’ll feel right at home in Des Moines.

But there is one other reason: It’s a shout out to Iowa’s Supreme Court for legalizing gay marriage. Good for you, Iowa, for being one of the most progressive states thus far. Growing up in Watonwan County, MN, I had a very different image of our neighbor to the south. For example, here’s one for ya: Why does the Mississippi River flow south? …. because Iowa sucks.

My, how times have changed. And, I no longer think that Iowa sucks. In fact, these days, I have nothing but mad love for Iowa (except, for the record, I will be cheering for the Badgers on Saturday). But before you all imagine me running through Iowa’s capital city in a rainbow singlet with a boa and a “Go gay” sign taped to my back, there’s something you should know — I would probably never do that. Not because I’m not proud, but because there’s no reason to, especially in a place where human rights already exist. In running and in life, I don’t feel like I have anything to prove.

So on Sunday, while I’m out running among the gays, the straights, the farmers and the other progressives, I’ll be quietly celebrating with Iowa. And I’ll be reflecting on my personal journey thus far. I’ll spend the better part of those 13.1 miles thinking about the rural life I used to live just a couple hundred miles away. I’ll look closely at the new journey I began again this past summer. I’ll stay positive about running, life and equal rights. And, I’ll answer the question of “Why Des Moines?” with an even better one: Why not Des Moines?

Categories: Unscripted

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