Francine Vidockler

I decided to run the first Bonne Belle Mini Marathon, as it was known then, because I had just started running and I dearly appreciated the idea that it was for women. Women have long been excluded, either by law or just widespread social customs, and I knew this would uplift all women, whether they were runners or not. It seemed to me then, and now, an equalizing event—not an exclusionary one.

Each Columbus Day brings me joy as I see all the women and girls running with me. A number of family traditions have developed from this race—the participation of my daughter Eliza and my cousin Michele as well as a party after the event with family and friends.

The highlights of my running career have been the marathons: one Montreal, two Bostons, and two New Yorks. I still get great satisfaction from the fact that I, never a good athlete, ran five marathons. I loved running from day one! In one of my early urban runs, a police cruiser stopped to ask if I was OK, and not running from someone. I didn’t even have running shoes, or sneakers; I just put on my most flexible pair of regular shoes.

Running has given my confidence, endurance and good health. Maintaining running has also promoted a healthier diet, which, in turn, makes running easier. My running has also influenced my two daughters to be active. I wouldn’t miss this 10K for anything: I’ve made my daughter and cousin swear to push me in a wheelchair if necessary. This race is so unique: it’s my day, along with every other runner! That’s why I’m happy to be looking forward to number 43!

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