Reflections in the city on marathon morning

Fred Cavaiani

Our daughter ran in the Free Press Marathon this past Sunday, October 18. I drove down with my son-in law and their two oldest daughters to cheer her on. Their two younger daughters stayed home with Grandma. It was quite an event. Michelle, our daughter, had taken my car to pick up her good friend who was running the race with her. These two brave women had just run the Brooksie half-marathon a month ago. So there we were, the four of us on Mt. Elliott and Lafayette cheering these two women on as they passed by us. Our daughter's nine-year-old and seven-year-old daughters were there with their signs encouraging their mommy to run well. After she passed us we took some time to see the Father Solanus Center and I showed my granddaughters where I had lived many years ago and what my room was like. They were inspired and mesmerized. Finally we got to the Finish Line and were cheering as their mother completed the race.

After this I tried finding my car which my daughter had left in a parking garage. She and our son-in-law left in their car and I was to drive my car home. So I walked a marathon this early Sunday afternoon. There was a miscommunication as to the location of the parking garage. After exploring four parking garages and walking up four to five floors at each garage, I realized that something was wrong. Finally she discovered that she had given me the wrong address. But there I was for about two hours going from parking garage to parking garage. It was great exercise. But what I discovered was much friendliness and help by everyone I asked for directions. It was an afternoon to appreciate the warmth of the people around me. I felt comfortable, safe and welcomed.

It made me realize that I should be visiting Detroit more often. I was impressed by everything I witnessed and everyone I met on this glorious, sunny Marathon Sunday. Though it was cold outside, I felt that there was much warmth in every person's heart. It was a busy Sunday: the Detroit Free Press Marathon and the Lions were playing at Ford Field. And the Lions even won the game. What a glorious day.

I observed men and women of all ages finishing this historic marathon. I have run ten Detroit Free Press Marathons and had run the first Detroit Free Press Marathon many years ago. To watch our daughter, mother of four children, run this marathon was a profound experience for me. Her daughters and my son-in-law and I were at the same site where my wife, daughters and son had cheered me on so many years ago. What a wonderful experience. What a wonderful memory. When people gather together for a common goal, unity and connection happen. When people come together to affirm one another, a positive feeling emerges in everyone. Whenever I am an observer at a marathon I find myself loudly affirming everyone passing by. Smiles and high fives and warm words of thanks emerge. When I walked the streets of Detroit and parking garages for almost two hours, I discovered warmth and help. There is something about needing help that can be so disarming. But I had to admit to others that I needed help. When I admit that I need help to someone else, I create the occasion for others to help me and indirectly I touch the positive depth in their hearts. When I refuse to ask for help I can become an isolated person disconnected from my fellow travelers in life. I think marathon runners have discovered something that keeps attracting people to undergo this very strenuous experience of running a marathon. They are doing it together. There is an emotional and even spiritual bond in running a race with many other people. The bond between spectators and runners becomes an affirming experience for both. Marathon Sunday in Detroit brings out the best in everyone: runners, spectators, police, volunteers, friends, family and the City of Detroit. Life is really a "Together Journey." I happened to have a wonderful experience of a "Together Journey" this October 18, Marathon Sunday being with loved ones and being with the City of Detroit and with people from all over this great nation of ours. It all starts with the realization that we need one another and are on a Marathon Run through life. Let's make it a glorious run.

Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage counselor and psychologist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeast Michigan. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 248-362-3340. His e-mail address is: and his website is

Published: Tue, Oct 20, 2015