If you have ever considered tackling a marathon the 26.2 With Donna is a great race for a worthy cause. Traversing Jacksonville’s beautiful shoreline and winding through a variety of neighborhoods lined with supportive folks sharing not only their support but also their bacon, Bloody Mary’s and an assortment of fruit, the physical pain and effort is easily overcome by the sense of community and purpose. OK, “easily” is a poor user of the language, especially if you are not a seasoned distance runner. You will hurt but when surrounded by those running in honor of loved ones they have lost or those presently fighting to survive, your pain is a little less relevant.
My first “Donna” was this past year and while my responsibility was the first leg of a relay team (I along with my friend Vicki Schoonmaker tackled the first 5 miles), hearing the stories told by those who had run it in the past of how beautiful the experience is, I had to continue beyond my task. Gutting out 15 miles, roughly 7 beyond what I had trained for, left me aching through a good portion of my lower extremities. Adding to the pain was the unseasonably cold Jacksonville day which never topped 36 degrees during the run. Having run a New Years Eve 5k in Vermont where the temperature was 8 degrees the cold was not a shock. The wind was another story, especially along the beach where the tranquility of crashing waves illuminated by a cloudless sky fought hard to mask numbing breeze.
But as noted, when you are running for someone fighting to make it another year so they can see their children become parents or to see their grandchildren grow up, your own pain serves to push you harder. A sore knee pales in comparison to barely being able to walk due to cancer treatment. Wondering how you will make it the next few miles is a weak concern with respect to those wondering if they will make it to the next day. And the reminders are everywhere. Pictures. Dates of passing. Years in remission. The best part are those who thank you for coming out to support the cause. It is easy to be dwarfed by the problem, assuming that a few dollars to run a race can not possible be a relevant means of assisting. Sitting down with those in battle and their family members will give you a completely different perspective. Every cent counts. Knowing you care enough to go out and participate makes all the difference in the world.
I had the opportunity to run for a high school friend. There were actually two teams, with the other group also running in support of an old classmate. The former dealing with the onset of a more aggressive form after going into remission. The latter presently in the clear. Listening to them speak of their treatment was not unlike sitting in a physicians office. They knew just as much about the process and medication as their doctors and nurses did. For them it was a requirement to be just as diligent about days and doses. Beating breast cancer, or any cancer, is a team effort.
Speaking with the father of the woman I was running for gave me even greater insight into the love of a parent.
While the event can be somber, ever effort is made to be festive and to have it honor the breast cancer community. It is a time to celebrate the human spirit through a demanding physical event. The food is good and plenty. The volunteers are able and pleasant. Every story I was told did not fail to be validated by direct experience. If you think you can not accomplish the distance they also have a half-marathon or get some friends together and build a relay. There is enough time to get on a training schedule before 2/17/13 rolls around. There are Galloway pace teams to help get you from start to finish if you do not want to run alone.
You can do this!
In my experience the first step is to make the financial committment in order to make yourself more accountable. The good news is that the price break for registering early is substantial. Let me know if you sign up and we can meet before or afterwards to either motivate us for the race to share the experience over a cold beer. It is never to early to get a start on making things better.
Marathon Registration Fee
- Entry by 6/30/12: $75
- Entry 07/01/12 – 10/31/12: $95
- Entry 11/01/12 – 2/13/13: $125
- Entry at Expo: $135
Half Marathon Registration Fee
- Entry by 6/30/12: $60
- Entry 07/01/12 – 10/31/12: $80
- Entry 11/01/12 – 2/13/13: $100
- Entry at Expo: $110