It’s never too late for a comeback

Posted on Aug 23, 2021, by

Guest blog by Dave Bonson, Ascension 5K participant

As a recent retiree, I’m looking forward to putting on my walking shoes more often. My name is Dave Bonson and I will be walking the Ascension 5K Run/Walk in the Community First Fox Cities Marathon Presented by Miron Construction.

In the past, I have participated in the ThedaCare Half Marathon and the Community First Fox Cities Full Marathon. My journey participating with the Community First Fox Cities Marathon started 30 years ago, in 1991. Back then they had an event called the “10% Race”, which was ten percent of the distance of the full marathon. After I crossed the finish line, I continued cheering on fellow race participants and I saw several people crossing the finish line for the marathon that had walked most of it. I honestly didn’t know that you could walk the marathon and I thought, you know what? I think I can do that. That next year, I did.

I remember getting to the start line early. I was excited, nervous even. I began to think this has got to be the dumbest thing I’ve ever done. Before I knew it, it was time to line up in our corrals. I found a good spot in the back and when the gun went off, I got to walking. I never realized exactly how far 26.2 miles was until having to walk it. I worked on keeping a good pace and just kept putting one foot in front of the other.

We finally arrived downtown Appleton where the finish line was at the time. Once I crossed the finish line and got that medal around my neck. I was hooked.

I retired from my job in December 2020 and this is my comeback year. I’ll be returning for the Ascension 5K. This year I have also had an incredible time getting connected with the PaceSetters Running Club of the Fox Cities to help me get back into training.

The PaceSetters Running Club is really for everyone, not just runners. Throughout training and on race weekend, you can link up with a pace leader and follow them if you have a mile time you’re trying to stay on top of. Several of our club members are part of the On Pace Race Pace Team. There is so much support within a pace group and anyone can join. It’s a great running community to be a part of and there are several ways to get involved including fun runs and potlucks. I now help out at the water station on the PaceSetters Saturday morning Community First Fox Cities Marathon training runs. I like helping out to show support to those training for the longer distances.

If you’re just getting started, I think the 5K is perfect! It’s doable and not as intimidating as the half or full marathon, but just remember it’s your race. You can set your own pace to reach your goals.

The hardest step is signing up, but once you’ve crossed that off the list, it’s just a series of little steps to follow through. Join me at the start line this year as the Community First Fox Cities Marathon celebrates 30 years of miles, moments and memories. To register for the Ascension 5K, visit

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