Betsy Bulat Turner had run down Wisconsin Avenue to the Community First Fox Cities Marathon finish line in Neenah’s Riverside Park many times in the past. But, this time was extra special.
She was leading the 2021 women’s marathon.
Betsy and her husband, Steve, a Neenah native, live in Atlanta with their children, Tommy (5) and Wilhelmina (3). But, almost every September they return to visit family for the Community First Fox Cities Marathon presented by Miron Construction.
“It was so motivating to run into Neenah, past Steve’s family’s house,” said Betsy, who considers it her adopted hometown. “It helped me get to the end.”
Steve Turner said, “Seeing Betsy win the marathon with our kids and my parents watching was very special. Betsy loves running and this race is one of her favorites. She daydreams during her long training runs of running with the pace vehicle and crossing the finish line at Riverside Park as the winner. It is a dream come true for her to win.”
Betsy credits spectators throughout the Fox Cities for being so “kind and supportive” and cites several instances that helped give her the resolve to keep going strong. “Out on the race course, the fans were plentiful and boisterous. It was so much fun.”
Betsy has participated in many marathons and the Fox Cities Marathon is among her favorites. She ran the 2017 marathon while four months pregnant. “I moved around so much as a kid,” said Betsy. “I’ve adopted Neenah as my own and could not think of a more idyllic place.”
Betsy has several fond memories from Sept. 19:
- “There was a woman around Mile 20 who was handing out baggies full of ice. I grabbed one and put it in my sports bra. It saved me for the last few miles, and I wish I could thank her personally.”
- “There was also a group of school age children handing out ice pops around Mile 10. I grabbed one and it was tasty and great.”
- “I also wanted to thank the people who put out sprinklers.”
- “Finally, the man who paced me on his motorcycle when I went into the lead was a huge motivator and help. I will remember running with a pace vehicle forever.”
“The volunteers at the marathon are incredible,” Betsy said. “It’s one reason I love the race. It is so well organized from the expo, to race morning, to the run and finish.”
“I don’t know if it is a small-town attitude or whether you just have amazing people in (the Fox Cities) but it is definitely something,” she said. “A breath of fresh air for sure.”