In 31 years, much has changed, but much remains the same

Posted on Jul 29, 2022, by

By Fox Cities Marathon staff

Deborah Sharkey participated in the Community First Fox Cities Marathon Presented by Miron Construction in its very first year, and she hasn’t stopped. She has 30 medals from different events over the years, and is looking forward to earning her 31st medal his year.

She says there have been a lot of changes over the years, but one thing has stayed the same: the sense of community that surrounds the race.

Deborah started out by diving right in and signing up for all 26.2 miles of the Community First Fox Cities Marathon in her first year. Deborah admits she was not a runner then, and she still is not a runner now. She doesn’t run for sport and definitely doesn’t run competitively. But she wanted to see if she could do it.


She says the first race, she walked the full course. Deborah remembers thinking she was the last to finish, because as she crossed the finish line marathon staff were already cleaning up! (She says she felt relieved when she realized she wasn’t last, there were still many participants out on the full marathon course finishing up.)

After proving to herself she could do it, Deborah signed up to do the full marathon a few more times. She says running in the Fox Cities Marathon is fun, the course is beautiful and challenging, but it is the atmosphere and the sense of community that keeps her coming back.

Deborah doesn’t have family in the area, so there isn’t anyone who specifically shows up to cheer her on, but there are hundreds of people she doesn’t even know who keep her going along the way.

Since that first race, she has dialed her distance running back to the ThedaCare Half Marathon and now the Ascension 5K Run/Walk. No matter the distance, there’s one thing that always stays constant – the supportive community of people around her cheering for every step forward. (The impromptu water stations and silly costumes really encourage her too!)

Deborah will be participating in the 5K once again this year and she says she can’t wait to see everyone out there!


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