Before I update you on our trip to Stuttgart, I wanted to take some time and talk about something that means an awful lot to Julie and I. The St Jude Marathon Weekend.
Our participation in this event began three years ago.
Paul and Julie Barlow were friends from a long time ago in Mitchell and Bedford, Indiana. Julie and I went to church together. Paul lived a few houses down from my grandmother. Paul and I played football together, and realized at the same time, that football wasn’t a productive sport for us, so we decided to run cross country instead. Anyway, Paul and Julie met around our Senior year of High School, and got married after college. They have a beautiful family. However, their youngest son David got sick. He contracted a very rare form of cancer. The Barlow family sought help from St Jude Hospital in Memphis. St Jude gave David excellent care, but even with all of their help he did succumb to the disease.
I am not exactly sure how long Team David has been going. I just know this would have been our third year participating in person, and our 4th year of overall participation. Four years ago I got a call from Paul about helping out. That first year we could not come down so Julie and I made a donation. Paul called me again about a month after the race and convinced me come down the next year.
I had given up running the day I got out of the Army, but Paul got me to try and get back in shape, run the 1/2 Marathon, and raise some money. Julie at first was going to let me go down by myself, but then decided she wanted to participate as well. She wasn’t going to run, but she wanted to raise money, and walk in one of the races. We went down the first year, raised about $3000 and had a wonderful time catching up with some new friends, and many friends from my childhood. We participated again last year, and had decided to make this an annual event.
This year I convinced another member of our High School Cross Country team to participate.
Ryan, I am sorry I missed after I got you to come down.
I told, Ryan Roberts, if he would come down this year I would run my first full Marathon in over 30 years with him. Well, with him, is a misnomer. Ryan kept running after High School. He has run many marathons including Boston. I might have been able to keep up with him for about 100 yards, but even that is debatable. So last winter I started training a little harder, knowing there is a big difference between a half and a full marathon.
Then life got in the way. When Julie and I found out she was being transferred to Zürich our plans began to change. We first thought I would be staying in the US for a year. In which case, I would go to Memphis on my own. We realized pretty quickly that wasn’t a good option. So Julie moved the middle of June. I got the house sold and followed as quickly as possible. That whole process did throw my training regimen off kilter, however. We thought for a time, I would still be able to head back for the race, but we found out the costs involved, and realized we would rather spend our money donating to St Jude, than spend it on air fare. Anyway, we missed this year. 🙁
Last weekend 115 of our friends met in Memphis to participate in the Marathon weekend. We had friends participate as spectators only, in the 3K, 5K 10K, 1/2, and full Marathon. Not to mention the fabulous music and BBQ on Beale Street!
Ryan and Paul: Here is my confession: with the move I didn’t train as hard as I needed to for the full marathon. So this morning, after I took Julie to the train, I went out and ran 13.2 miles. It took me a good 3 hours. It is a lot harder when you have to bring your support on your back. After I completed my run, I got my bike out for another 13.2 miles. So I did my Marathon today, I just cheated a little! Unfortunately, this is how I will be participating for the next few years. I would rather spend my money donating to St Jude, than spending it on a plane ticket. Even though I do miss getting together will my friends!
So if you have read today’s post Thank you. Here is the link to the Team David page: https://fundraising.stjude.org/site/TR/Heroes/Heroes?team_id=233819&pg=team&fr_id=105980
There is one part of the race I wish everyone could experience. No matter which race you participate, the course runs through the Hospital’s campus. It is the easiest, yet hardest, part of the run. Going through that area with the families, patients, doctors, and nurses cheering you on puts a lump in your throat, but somehow makes your feet seem lighter. If you have an extra $10 or want to make your end of the year charitable tax donation. Please consider a gift to St Jude Hospital, it is money well spent!