I have been running this race since 1977 (Bonnie Bell). I missed the race only once in 1988, the year my daughter was born. In 1984, I ran the race with permission from my doctor when I was 6 months pregnant, with my unborn son along for the fun. I always tell my son he was one of the few males to finish the race that year. My sister ran along side me for support and always jokes that I ruined her time.
Over the years my race times have slowed down but being able to be a part of the race with so many women is what I enjoy, not the competition but the participation and goal to do my best. In 2011, I had major heart surgery and could not run I did not think I would be able to participate. With the support of my family, cardiologist and with my sister again at my side, we lined up with the runners in the back and completed the course without difficulty. It was a very hot day but the crowd was there to cheer us on, despite our fifteen minute a mile pace. I do not have the words to describe how great I felt at the finish. It was a major turning point for me. I went from feeling down about being ill to feeling as if I turned to corner and was on the road to staying well. The power of exercise, the spirit of fitness and a goal to stay healthy is an amazing thing. I know it may sound corny but being a part of this race does this for me.
Some knee issues make me a very slow runner but I will be at the starting line this year along with my daughter. She is much faster than I am but it is wonderful that she is able to do this with me this year.
Participating in this race on a yearly basis continues to inspire me to stay fit and value the ability to be active.